Little (Wanna Be) Bomber Boy

He just looks so sad and misunderstood and lonely...

So, I’m sure you all have heard, but the United States came scarily close to suffering yet another terrorist attack, the first since 9/11. The only saving grace was the fact that the would-be terrorist, current piece of burnt toast, used a defective detonator. Instead of causing the packet of PETN to explode, he merely succeeded in catching himself on fire. Luckily, many of the passengers on the flight tackled the man and removed his bomb-laden underwear. Now Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23 year-old wanna be terrorist is sitting in a federal prison, warning that more attacks are on the way.

Now, I’m not going to get into the whole “Why did this happen?! Who’s going to pay for their mistakes?! OMG! The sky is falling!” like a lot of people out there. Things like this happen. A guy tries to light his shoes in order to blow up a plane and the United States responds by restricting the amount of liquids allowed on board. It’s impossible for the Department of Homeland Security to conceive of every possible way that these terrorist scumbags will attack us. Instead, DHS acts on the best available knowledge at the time and tries to react as quickly as possible to respond to threats that may emerge. This is partly why we’ve been so lucky to not have suffered another terrorist attack on American soil for the last 8 years.  Also, just because he was on a watch-list isn’t enough, as his family and the government didn’t have enough information on his activities and intentions to put him on the “No Fly List.”  So, let’s get over that one, please.

Don’t get me wrong, there were problems. First, it’s been reported that there was no air marshal on board the plane. Now in the years since 9/11, I’ve come to believe that there’s supposed to be one on every flight, just in case something like this happens. However, even more frightening was what was reported by Drudge. Apparently, Abdulmutallab didn’t even have a passport when he boarded the plane. Instead he approached the gate with a man in a suit. The man then apparently told the lady at the gate that Umar was from Sudan (apparently playing upon pity that he was a Sudanese refugee) and thus didn’t have a passport, but that “they did this all the time.” Apparently, the lady then pointed the pair to her manager. These were major security breaches, but both quite fixable. Nothing that a few firings, retraining, and a reinforcement of procedure, protocol and rules wouldn’t fix.

What I have a problem with is what US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Sunday that the security systems “worked perfectly.” Worked perfectly?! Now I know that she came out again today and twice said that she didn’t mean that the security systems that failed to detect the bomb were working perfectly, but that the “response systems” worked perfectly. Ok, I’m not sure how it’s a good idea to come out two days after a terrorist tried to kill scores of people on American soil and say that anything “worked perfectly.” I mean, come on, she had TWO DAYS to come up with that gem! Even the White House press secretary came out and said that major mistakes were made. And Obama wasn’t even there. He was in Hawaii at the time and yet the White House felt pretty safe in the fact that he’d agree with them that things did not work right. Meanwhile, Napolitano must have been too busy coming up with new words to describe terrorist activities (“man made disasters” comes to mind) to think about what exactly she was saying.

“Officer, I know you found me asleep at the wheel, but I swear, I didn’t even blink, much less close my eyes. And anyway, I was wearing my seatbelt and no one was hurt, so no harm, no foul.”

The "Dirty Bomb" Abdulmutallab tried to ignite

Unlike what a lot of people are calling for, I don’t think we need to have full body searches. I for one don’t want to have to go through those, do you? All we need is the same bomb detection equipment that our luggage goes through. If one of those machines had been used in conjunction with the standard metal detector, Umar Farouk “Imadumbass” would most likely have been caught. Heck, apparently bomb-sniffing dogs would have been able to detect the PETN as well, but I don’t necessarily like the idea of dog-wielding TSA agents hanging out at the security checkpoints while I’m heading home for Christmas. Yet again, we are sitting at a point in time when it will be very easy for the government to overreact (I mean seriously, 3 oz.?! What am I going to do with the can of Mountain Dew that I’m drinking out of? Spill it?) and call for yet another “security measure” in order to protect us. Soon, we could all be stuck flying naked. Well, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing, assuming of course the only people allowed on my flight are Victoria’s Secret lingerie models, Jennifer Connelly, and January Jones.

Now remember, I’m not playing the blame game here. There’s no blame to go around. The terrorists found a way around our security measures and exploited it. Now the only thing to do is to identify the weaknesses and rectify them. What my problem is with Napolitano. Instead of just admitting that something went wrong, she immediately went on the defensive. Now, instead of going about her business fixing the problems, she is busy spinning plates and back-pedaling all over in order to get her foot out of her mouth. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the beginning of the end for her. It’s not a good thing when the homeland Security Secretary is so oblivious to the reality of the world around her that she thinks everything’s ok when she was dangerously close (a failed detonator close) to having scores of people killed by a terrorist on her watch, something that hasn’t happened in over 8 years.

The imbecile in charge of our national security

Meanwhile, “Imadumbass” is sitting in prison warning of more attacks against Americans. If Napolitano hadn’t of said what she said, we could all have moved on. Now, there’s confusion on what’s acceptable on flights and what’s not and the federal government is allowing individual airlines to decide what to do on their own. Now, to me that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m all for individual decisions being made. However, when it comes to minimal safety standards, there needs to be a baseline set by the government. But right now, there is no baseline. Some airlines are allowing passengers to “move about the cabin” for the duration of the flight (according to traditional standards) meanwhile, other airlines are prohibiting free movement one hour before landing (which would mean on my flights from Atlanta to St. Louis, I would be able to go to the bathroom for exactly 15 minutes before I have to sit back down again).

Hopefully, Obama takes the cue that Napolitano is not quite up to the job that he thought she was and replaces her. But, in the meantime, hopefully she’s at least surrounded by people who can at least detect when things are not going smoothly and can correct them. In the meantime, I don’t trust Napolitano to protect this country as far as I can throw her. But, as long as the men and women of the TSA continue doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, I can’t blame them. And hopefully, America’s last line of defense, the people on the planes can look at the actions of those on the flight on Friday and be confident that they would be able to stop a terrorist if they needed to.

Preview for the next post: For years, we’ve been told that the problem with Islamic terrorism is that the terrorists recruit from the poor, uneducated slums. Meanwhile, Umar Farouk “Imadumbass” was a 23 year-old, college graduate from one of the most important families in Nigeria.



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