Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: Northwest Airlines, Terrorist Bombing Attempt, Yemen
The U.K. Telegraph had no trouble in getting directly to the point: “Detroit terror attack is a major intelligence and security failure: The fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was able to trigger his home-made incendiary device on board a US airliner represents an intelligence and security failure of staggering proportions.” The American media pussyfooted around a bit more. The Secretary of Homeland Security was in full nothing-to-see-here-and everybody-is-perfectly-safe mode.
“The system worked,” Ms. Napolitano said. “Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew took appropriate action.” Well no, the system didn’t work. The suspect’s father had warned the U.S. Embassy that his son was dangerously radicalized, but the son did not get put on the watch list for flights into the United States because there was “insufficient derogatory information available ” to include him. It would seem that a warning from a father would be sufficient for most anything, but we are talking about “man-caused disasters” here, not “terrorism.”
“The passengers and crew took appropriate action.” Thank goodness that we can depend on courageous film producers from Amsterdam, because we cannot depend on watch lists, or airline boarding security, or air marshals. Residents of Amsterdam have had a little closer relation to Islamist man-caused disasters.
Liberals have had a difficult relationship to terrorism. They have preferred to believe that there was no terrorism but only Republicans trying to scare everyone, that those who performed terrorist acts were poor abused minorities — not the sons of prominent and well-to-do bankers attending college in England. So we have “overseas contingency operations,” and 9/11 was a one-off disaster, but terrorism is something that mostly happens somewhere else and blows up other folks, not our people and not here. So the murderous major at Fort Hood was suffering from post-traumatic-stress acquired from those he counseled rather than any stress of his own, but he was certainly not a terrorist.
The Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit by a Nigerian student, trained in Yemen, makes the 28th foiled terror plot against the United States since 9/11. I do believe that there are a lot of hardworking people out there trying to protect us; and that we’re not entirely dependent on the ineptitude of terrorists.
The first instinct at the White House is to stonewall and rebuff any oversight efforts:
As with the shooting at Ft. Hood in November, the White House has ordered federal agencies not to provide briefings or answer inquiries from members of Congress, leaving all such contacts to be handled by the White House.“I don’t think I ever saw that throughout President Bush’s time in the White House. I could call directly to the director of the CIA or the [National Counterterrorism Center] and get whatever briefings I wanted,” Hoekstra said. He called the briefing limits “totally inappropriate,” but said the White House maintained the orders were needed because of the ongoing criminal investigation.
Do note the word “criminal” in referring to the investigation. The Islamists have often declared that they are at war with us, but we keep investigating criminal acts like liquor store holdups or breaking and entering. Failure to accurately describe situations prevents their solution. Since there is evidence that the Nigerian student as well as Major Hasan Nidal were radicalized by Yemeni al Qaeda associates, it makes Obama’s plan to release some 60 Gitmo detainees to Yemen a little dicey.
A little clear thinking and a little less inclination to avoid any possible blame would be very welcome. Responsibility and backbone, perhaps.
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