Is Janet Napolitano Living In An Alternate Universe?
Or am I?
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”
Asked by CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union” how that could be possible when the young Nigerian who has been charged with trying to set off the bomb was able to smuggle explosive liquid onto the jet, Napolitano responded: “We’re asking the same questions.”
Napolitano added that there was “no suggestion that [the suspect] was improperly screened.”
Apparently he was screened exactly as he should have been according to TSA guidelines. Yet he got on the aircraft with explosive underwear.
The only reason the flight wasn’t blown out of the sky is he had a faulty detonator. And, as with the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, it took other passengers to subdue him.
So what part of the system worked?
Oh yeah, the “let’s overreact and make stupid new rules” part:
Among other steps being imposed, passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. Overseas passengers will be restricted to only one carry-on item aboard the plane, and domestic passengers will probably face longer security lines.
The restrictions will again change the routine of air travel, which has undergone an upheaval since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington in September 2001 and three attempts at air terrorism since then.
As James Joyner notes, since 2001 there have been 3 attempts in tens of thousands of flights and our reaction is to make flight even more miserable than it already is for little if any security gain. Radley Balko points out:
In addition to keeping with its usually tradition of making policy on a reactionary basis, this one wouldn’t even have done anything to prevent the attempt over the weekend. The guy was in his seat when he tried to light the explosive device. And the passenger who confronted him got out of his seat to do it.
Ah, but that doesn’t matter. Our new rules will “ensure” that no aircraft inbound to the US will be blown out of the sky in the last hour. No word on what might happen the preceding 2 to 14 hours (depending on the origination of the filght) prior to that.
The last word from Balko:
For all the crap they put us through, this guy still got some sort of explosive material on the plane from Amsterdam. He was stopped by law-abiding passengers. So TSA responds to all of this by . . . announcing plans to hassle law-abiding U.S. passengers even more.
That is all that has “worked” in “the system”.