Let's review...a Nigerian man, who studied at a British university, becomes a radicalized Muslim. The "transformation" is so disturbing that the man's father, a prominent Nigerian banker, personally alerts the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, warning that his son may represent a potential terror threat.
Meanwhile, information obtained by the U.K. government seems to confirm the father's fears. When the former student applies for a new visa to visit Britain, his request is declined. At about the same time, the U.S.--for reasons still unclear--grants a visa to the young Nigerian.
Then, a few weeks later, American intelligence services determine that the man has ties to Al Qaida elements in Yemen. The information isn't enough to put the man on a "No Fly" list, but his name does enter a larger database of individuals with known terrorist connections.
At some point during this period, the young Nigerian travels to Yemen and contacts the local Al Qaida affiliate. He is trained for a future operation, which will use a concealed bomb to bring down a U.S. airliner. On December 25th, the Nigerian engineering student-turned-terrorist operative ,Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, boards a Northwest Airlines flight from Lagos to Detroit, with a connection in Amsterdam. He paid cash for the one-way ticket.
You know what happened on the final leg of the flight. Abdulmutallab's attempt to detonate his bomb was foiled by an alert passenger and problems with the device. Had the passenger (a Dutch film maker) been less attentive--or Abdulmutllab more proficient--Northwest flight 253 might have ended with a catastrophic explosion, and the loss of everyone onboard.
But, you'll be pleased to know that our airline security system worked. That's the conclusion of Janet Napolitano, the nation's Director of Homeland Security. Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Ms. Napolitano said that U.S. officials didn't have enough information to keep the suspect from boarding the Detroit-bound flight.
Of course, Napolitano didn't mention all the red flags that Farouk Abdulmutllab managed to raise over the past 4-5 months. Or the failure of various government agencies to connect the dots, and identify the Nigerian as a potential terrorist. Instead, she assures us, that the system worked as advertised. Never mind that we were just moments away from a "man-caused disaster," to use one of Ms. Napolitano's politically-correct terms for a terrorist attack.
By any standard, Napolitano's comment may be one of the most stupid comments ever uttered by a cabinet secretary in any administration. But readers will note that stenographers in the mainstream media have refused to hold her accountable. Gee, what a surprise.
But security experts are calling Napolitano on the carpet, and rightfully so. Writing in the Center for Security Policy's Terror Trends Bulletin, Christopher Holton accurately dissects the sheer idiocy of Ms. Napolitano's assertion:
1. “Homeland security head: The security system worked”
Nothing authorities did prevented that plane from being blown up. This was a case of a bad guy fumbling the ball on the one yard line through the end zone for a touchback. If the security system worked, then the system STINKS. Either Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab’s detonator was bad or else it was a case of “you need to be smarter than the equipment you’re using” and he screwed up. But if not for their screw-up, we’d have had a US airliner blown up and crashing over a populated area on Christmas with hundreds killed.
2. “The father of the man accused of attempting to blow up the jetliner told U.S. officials in Nigeria he was concerned about his son’s extreme religious views. However, Napolitano says there was no specific information to place Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on a no-fly list.”
This is a byproduct of refusing to recognize the religious component integral to the enemies we face. The fact that the father informed us that his son was a Jihadi wasn’t enough for our PC system to keep him out of the US. This is the modern-day equivalent to allowing members of the SS into America because their membership in the SS was not sufficient specific information to exclude them.
3. Napolitano says that within 60 to 90 minutes of the incident all 120 flights that were in the air at time were contacted to make sure the attempted bombing did not extend beyond the flight to Detroit.
How the hell were those other air crews supposed to know? Did they announce over the intercom,”Any terrorists on board with an explosive device strapped to your crotch, please raise your hand”? The fact of the matter is, we were caught with our pants down and we are just damn lucky that Christmas 2009 wasn’t marked forever by an Islamikaze massacre.
Mr. Holton believes that Napolitano should resign immediately. We agree but, sadly, that won't happen. The only thing that would rid us of Napolitano would be a successful terrorist attack, err, man-caused disaster. We came very close to that scenario on Christmas Day, but don't worry, the system worked.
Be very, very afraid.