Free Markets, Free People

Napalitano Concedes “System” Didn’t Work

Apparently what was clear to every other person in the land has just recently become obvious to our DHS Secretary:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded Monday that the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watchlist with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit. The Obama administration has ordered investigations into the two areas of aviation security — how travelers are placed on watch lists and how passengers are screened — as critics questioned how the 23-year-old Nigerian man charged in the airliner attack was allowed to board the Dec. 25 flight. A day after saying the system worked, Napolitano backtracked, saying her words had been taken out of context. “Our system did not work in this instance,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. “No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is under way.”

Taken out of context? The fallback claim of every yahoo caught saying something stupid or inane. In fact, there were any number of signals which should have had this guy shunted off to the side for a more thorough check – like the warning his father had given the US embassy.

Officials said he came to the attention of U.S. intelligence last month when his father, Alhaji Umar Mutallab, a prominent Nigerian banker, reported to the American Embassy in Nigeria about his son’s increasingly extremist religious views. In a statement released Monday morning, Abdulmutallab’s family in Nigeria said that after his “disappearance and stoppage of communications while schooling abroad,” his father reached out to Nigerian security agencies two months ago. The statement says the father then approached foreign security agencies for “their assistance to find and return him home.”

The family says: “It was while we were waiting for the outcome of their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day.”

Some questions:

How can a Muslim student, whose name appears on a US law enforcement database, be granted a visa to travel to America, allegedly acquire an explosive device from Yemen, a country awash with al-Qaeda terrorists, and avoid detection from the world’s most sophisticated spy agencies?

Every intelligence agency across the world is fully aware that the targets of choice for al-Qaeda and its numerous affiliates and sympathisers are airliners – preferably those flying to the US. Yet Abdulmutallab seems to have avoided detection in both Nigeria and Holland when he passed through the various security checks at Lagos and Schiphol airports respectively. [How? -ed.]

Embarrassingly for the Washington, Lagos airport had recently been given the “all clear” by the US’s Transportation Security Administration [Why? -ed.], an agency established in the wake of the 9/11 attacks which was supposed to improve the security on American airliners.

Bottom line – if you want to make security more effective without increasing the hassle factor for everyone, there is a solution: start profiling.

Yeah, that’s right – if you’re warring against the Mongols, you don’t go looking for Latvians. It’s time we started pulling the “Mongols” out of line and checking them thoroughly. For instance, had this guy undergone a check for explosives, they’d have gotten him early:

Security experts said airport “puffer” machines that blow air on a passenger to collect and analyze residues would probably have detected the powder, as would bomb-sniffing dogs or a hands-on search using a swab. Most passengers in airports only go through magnetometers, which detect metal rather than explosives.

If, as a matter of routine, such travelers were sent through such devices or checks, do you think it might further diminish the threat of such attacks and cause them to look for different venue for their attacks?  Might it also put pressure on Muslims everywhere, when singled out as a threat because of their common link to the terrorists,  to clean up their radical elements?

Instead, you can count on the Obama administration, via the TSA, to make the new and reactive rules both draconian and applicable to everyone and pretend the 800 lb. gorilla in the room doesn’t e. But real security doesn’t play “political correctness”. It identifies the threat as specifically as possible, details characteristics of those who comprise that threat and then focuses its limited resources on them. That isn’t what we do, and we know why. And that’s why guys like Abdulmutallab and Richard Reid find ways to get on aircraft with explosive devices.

~McQ

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8 Responses to Napalitano Concedes “System” Didn’t Work

  • My last plan flight I had the pleasure of waiting with view of a security checkpoint for about 1 hour.
     
    The two people that got the thorough inspection were an elderly woman in a wheelchair and an elderly man who had difficulty walking.   I’m talking 80+ in both cases.
     
    Yeah, that was a good use of resources.

  • Ya know, Imeme and his administration of idiots and gangsters has lowered the bar so far that I don’t expect Interplanet Janet to resign, or indeed for anybody to seriously call for it.  This crowd is so inept, so tin-eared, so STUPID, that incompetence is NORMAL for them (cf. Joe Biden).  In order to rise to the level of a firing offense, Nappy would have had to put Abdulmutallab on the plane herself and given him a book a matches, and even then there would be excuses made for her on the left (“Bush’s fault”, “not an existential threat”, “incompetent terrorist”, etc).

  • It should be interesting when an air marshall blows away some passenger for refusing to stop his fourth or fifth dash for the bathroom on a flight from some overseas country not known for its hygienic standards. Very messy. (heh)

  • A couple fo years ago, some friends of mine bought a sword on a trip to Spain.  Before going to the airport, they called ahead to find out what possibly handling problems mine come up because of the sword.
    They were told to carry the sword on and put it in an overhead compartment.

  • 270+ people barely escaped a fiery death because we don’t want to offend anyone by profiling.  That’s what it comes down to.

  • Helluva job Jannie….

  • The system worked before it didn’t work.

  • Forget the high-tech scanners, etc.. Racial, ethnic, religious profiling. If your name is Mohammed, Fatima, Ackmed, Abdullahmullahbullah, get to the airport six hours ahead of time and be ready for strip-search, physicaly and mentally, as well as cavity search. Every item in your luggage will be examined. If more than two Mooselimb males are prevented from boarding a flight, no fines will be assessed against the airline (as I think is the case today although I may well be wrong). Drop the Norm Mineta name from the San Jose airport as he is a big reason why the USA does not do profiling. He is a disgrace.