Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thoughts on a terrorist plot

"Obama has ordered a thorough look at the shortcomings that permitted the plot, which failed not because of U.S. actions but because the would-be attacker was unable to ignite an explosive device."

The shortcomings started FAR before the terrorist got through airport security with a bomb in his pants, to put it politely. Here's some musings:

1. This guy's FATHER - his own blood- turned him in as dangerous. Strike one.
(AbdulMutallab had a valid, two-year, multiple-entry visa into the United States, despite the fact that his father had twice spoken to at least one representative of the CIA at the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria about his son's increasingly extremist views.)

2. He WASN'T on a list of possible terrorists. WHAT?! Um, shouldn't that be flagged RED before people are allowed to buy a plane ticket? Strike two.

3. Paid Cash. No bags. RED FLAG RED FLAG.

4. Apparently, the "tiered threat" system isn't working.
Despite his father's intervention, Abdulmutallab's name hadn't been added to either a 3,400-name no-fly list or a 14,000-name roster of persons who could be subjected to intensive searches. His name was added to a 555,000-name list of persons considered suspicious but less of a threat. Apparently he would have received greater scrutiny if he applied for another visa. The problem was that he already had one.

5. I'll say it here: I'm for "common sense" profiling. What happened in Fort Hood was a direct result of our nation's pansy-ass attitude about political correctness. If you look like a terrorist -if you are of middle eastern or African descent standing in an airline flight without a single bag, probably walking funny because you've strapped explosives to your junk - you should be frisked and your name should be double-checked on an airline passenger list. We have a clear cut profile of most terrorists who want to kill us. All criminal investigators build a "profile" - why can't we operate within one? Oh that's right, we're too worried about hurting feelings. I'm done with it.

6. Our media has allowed photos of the charred underwear to be released. Gross. No one wants to see a terrorist's crotch.

7. Al-Qaeda is singing. You go ahead and strengthen your rapport with the Yemeni government, Mr. President. I want our troops hunting, seeking, and killing. Could we please NOW use the words "Victory" and "Winning", Mr. President, when we talk about responding to terror? Let's shut 'em up!

We have GOT to do better. As the LA times put it:
Some experts suggest that this incident demonstrates the need for vastly expanded use of high-technology screening devices. Before Congress accepts that counsel, however, it needs to focus on something that seemingly eluded officials in this case: the human factor.

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