Once again, Secretary Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is under scrutiny in the wake of the failed terrorist bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines flight 253. Apparently, DHS had plenty of opportunities to prevent this attack and chose instead to do nothing.
Are they really this inept?
Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, the father of Nigerian terrorist suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, was concerned enough about his son’s leanings to alert U.S. Embassy and Nigerian security officials six months ago. The father, a prominent former bank officer in Nigeria, claimed his son had adopted troubling beliefs and made connections with suspected terrorists in Yemen. Following his son’s arrest, he expressed bewilderment as to why the U.S. would allow his son to travel here after such a warning.
Abdul Mutallab was added to the Office of National Intelligence, US Counterterrorism Center’s Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) list just last month. According to the Washington Post, individual agencies use TIDE information at their discretion to decide whether or not to include named individuals on their own watch lists. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains two lists; “no-fly,” that prohibits a person on the list from boarding a domestic or U.S. bound airline, and “selectee,” where the person boarding will receive extra scrutiny. For some reason Abdul Mutallab was on neither list.
One would think that with the Fort Hood shootings still ringing in our collective ears, the obvious terrorist “dry runs” on Air Tran flight 297 and United Airlines flight 227, TSA might have thought to take this man’s own father’s statements a little more seriously.
Meanwhile, on CNN’s “State of the Union” program today, Janet Napolitano was quoted as saying that “the system worked,” adding that there was no evidence this was part of a larger plot. Apparently no one bothered to tell her that passengers and crew saved the day on flight 253, despite TSA’s gross ineptitude, or that Abdul Mutallab admitted to officials yesterday that he had received bomb-making materials from an al Qaeda bomb expert.
Now that TSA has been sufficiently forewarned however, all the rest of us will be forced to endure more mindless screening exercises. Because of shoe bomber Richard Reid we all have to take off our shoes. Does this mean that since Abdul Mutallab sewed components for the explosive PETN into his underwear, we will all have to toss our briefs into the screening bins? Maybe we should just wear them on our heads or hang it all and show up to the airport naked.
Janet Napolitano fretted about an “anti-Muslim backlash” in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre, and pooh-poohs any concerns about this most recent attempt on flight 253, while Obama’s Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey claimed “diversity” to be more important than the Fort Hood deaths.
Such astonishing concern for our Muslim brethren does not extend to the American people, however. It is reported that President Obama recently signed an executive order taking the unprecedented step of exempting the international police force INTERPOL from American law. Some claim this subjects U.S. citizens to the possibility of arrest without recourse to Constitutional civil protections, yet this same administration is willing to extend those protections to the terrorist accused of the most deadly attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.