"Big Sis" Janet Napolitano reassured nervous Americans not to worry -- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to blow up Northwest Flight 253 did not indicate a larger terrorist plot. In an effort to respectfully restrain from jumping to conclusions, the Homeland Security Secretary refused to confirm whether Abdulmutallab had a connection to al-Qaida.
Less than twenty-four hours later, Napolitano reconsidered her statement, admitting that maybe Abdulmutallab "should not have been allowed on the airplane." Napolitano said, "What I would say is our system did not work in this instance [emphasis mine] -- no one is happy or satisfied with that." Yes, Janet, especially the 250+ people that were nearly blown to smithereens while approaching a Motor City landing strip. Maybe Napolitano can expound upon how a radical Islamic student listed on a U.S. law enforcement database was granted a visa to come to the United States from Yemen, a nation saturated with al-Qaida terrorists? Abdulmutallab studied from 2005 to June 2008 at the University College of London and majored in an al-Qaida recruitment subject that seems to be all the rage with terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad: mechanical engineering. The only thing more absurd than what happened on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 would be if mechanical engineer Abdulmutallab were hired to work at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
Napolitano stating that "our system did not work in this instance" implies that Umar Farouk's ability to evade airport security with explosives securely tucked in his private area was an exception compared to larger security successes. However, judging from reports, Abdulmutallab appears to be the only one trying and succeeding to smuggle and detonate explosives on Christmas Day. Someone should inform the esteemed secretary that the Homeland Security system failure rate was 100% because "this [one] instance" was the only instance.
Though thwarted in the larger mission, Abdulmutallab proved that American homeland security makes it easy to accomplish the mission at hand, not to mention for international terrorists to retain hope and stay committed to the cause. Similar encouragement was extended to the jihad community after Abdulmutallab admitted to ties to and training from al-Qaida, but Napolitano, extending deference and benefit of the doubt, refused to acknowledge the likely connection.
Attorney General Eric Holder's statement on the incident also mollified terrorist concerns when he cautiously said, "This alleged attack on the U.S. Airplane on Christmas Day shows that we must remain vigilant in the fight against terrorism at all times." Emphasize "alleged" to avoid offending Muslim brethren, and underscore "remain vigilant" as if watchfulness had been in operation when Abdulmutallab boarded the flight to Detroit. Does Homeland Security believe that Americans find consolation in Holder's pledge to persist in the same type of cautionary measures that perhaps gave Umar carte blanche access to a flight into Detroit despite multiple warning signs?
Napolitano admitted that "[h]aving a chemical detonator is also a new wrinkle ... that isn't something that a lone wolf is likely to come up with." If it's "new wrinkles" Napolitano is concerned about, then she should consider Abdulmutallab spending twenty minutes in the bathroom and review the methods of, "ass-assin" Abdullah Asieri, who "stashed a pound of explosives and a detonator inside his body in the attack on Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, head of counterterrorism for the [Saudi] kingdom." In that case, the suicide bomber outmaneuvered bomb-detection in the Saudi palace and set off an explosion using a charge hidden in his rectum. Groin terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was placed on the terrorist watch list in May after his father, a prominent Nigerian banker alarmed over his son's extremism, felt compelled to report his own flesh and blood to American authorities. Abdulmutallab's father was so disturbed over the radical nature of his son's religious views that the elder registered concern with the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria. A situation so dire that a parent reports his own child did not meet the criteria for "clear and present danger"? Could it be that Homeland Security has more pressing issues to attend to? When young Umar was in Yemen learning PETN detonation techniques, Big Sis was otherwise engaged in alerting the public to extremism, radicalization, and environmental threats in the form of pro-life activists, returning veterans, and conservatives. Napolitano and company dismissed threats like Abdulmutallab's radical and religious associations, neither of which were considered a red flag of concern, because HLS was aggressively keeping watch over true menaces like Christian groups and "disgruntled" military personnel. According to Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, or the TIDE database precedence, only 14,000 people out of 550,000 cataloged terrorists present enough evidence to require additional screening at airports. Even more chilling, only 4,000 are registered on the no-fly list. So that leaves 536,000 individuals who are enough of a concern to be put in a terrorist database roster but do not require additional screening when boarding a plane? Moreover, 546,000 can fly anywhere, at any time, without restriction? Abdulmutallab is only one of those 546,000. The only reason 278 passengers and crew members weren't slaughtered on Christmas day was because, like Homeland Security, Abdulmutallab's device failed to detonate properly, and brave passengers were there to tackle a fiend.
Follow the bouncing ball. According to Janet Napolitano, our system worked, and then it didn't work. The Homeland Security Secretary doesn't think Abdulmutallab "is part of a larger plot to blow up more airplanes," but feels that it would have been difficult for an individual to obtain explosives like PETN without outside assistance. The real question is whether the homeland was ever or could ever be safe with Janet at the rudder.
In his statement, Attorney General Eric Holder expounded on the incident, saying, "Had this alleged plot to destroy an airplane been successful, scores of innocent people would have been killed or injured." Such insight is astounding. Yes, out of 278 passengers and crew, 277 innocent passengers would have surely been killed, as well as one successful martyr for jihad.
As our nation stands on the precipice of a government takeover of health care, the Northwest Flight 253 incident should confirm for Americans (whether in the air or on terra firma) that Washington, D.C. cannot be trusted with our safety, health, or security on any level. Even the left-leaning New York Times admitted that "[d]espite the billions spent since 2001 on intelligence and counterterrorism ... it was something simpler that averted disaster on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit: alert and courageous passengers and crew members." Once again, ordinary Americans put bureaucracy to shame by saving themselves from the dangers government failure poses to all our lives.