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When a 23 year old Nigerian terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, smuggled more than 80 grams of PETN (a nitroglycerin-related liquid explosive used by the military) onto Northwest flight 253 in an attempt to blow up the plane, the only reason his Christmas day suicide bombing attempt failed was because of a faulty detonator. Mutallab did detonate his explosive device on the flight. It just didn't work properly, or many innocent people would now be dead. In addition, Mutallab was on a terrorist watch list, though not on the no-fly list. He had a valid U.S. visa, even though his own father alerted the U.S. embassy six months ago that his son was a religious extremist who posed a danger to the United States. The AP is reporting that an anonymous official said the U.S. suspected Mutallab had terrorist ties over two years ago.
ABC news has reported the following:
The plot to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit was organized and launched by al Qaeda leaders in Yemen who apparently sewed bomb materials into the suspect's underwear before sending him on his mission, federal authorities tell ABC News.
According to the authorities, Abdul Mutallab says he made contact via the internet with a radical imam in Yemen who then connected him with al Qaeda leaders in a village north of the country's capital, Sanaa.
Authorities say they do not yet know if the imam was the same one who was in contact with Maj. Nidal Hasan prior to his alleged attack on soldiers at Fort Hood last month. American-born Anwar Awlaki has lived in Yemen since 2002 and is considered a major recruiter for al Qaeda by U.S. authorities. He survived a U.S.-backed air strike earlier this week.
The suspect in the Northwest Airlines attack told FBI agents he lived with the al Qaeda leader in Yemen for about a month and was not allowed to leave as he was trained in what to do and how to do it, authorities said.
At some point, according to the account, Abdu Mutallab said he was joined by a Saudi citizen whom he described as an al Qaeda bomb maker.
After all this, our Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, went on CNN and proclaimed that the incident proves "the system worked." Napolitano went on to add that there was "no suggestion that [the suspect] was improperly screened."
The freaking system worked ?!?!?!? I guess it did, if our system is comprised solely of counting on the incompetence of suicide attackers to carry out their missions. Some system. What Napolitano should be saying is that the system failed miserably, just as it did with the Fort Hood massacre. It failed because somebody (Napolitano ?) is not taking the terrorist threat seriously enough, and Americans are being killed and/or put in considerable danger because of it.
Now, new ineffective airport security measures are being taken, such as not letting passengers leave their seats during the last hour of a flight, and limiting carry-on baggage. These measures will not make any difference, but will further inconvenience innocent passengers. What WILL make a difference is to KEEP PEOPLE ON TERRORIST WATCH LISTS OFF OF AIRPLANES, AND CANCEL THEIR U.S. VISAS.
I can't wait to hear Napolitano's response to terrorists wearing suicide underwear. After the shoe-bomber Richard Reid attempted an attack, we had to take off our shoes at the airport. Will we have to take off our underwear now ? Fly naked ?
A passenger on Northwest 253 said another man tried to help Mutallab board the flight without showing a passport. That happened in Amsterdam, but it should have raised a red flag. I don't know whether it did or not, but obviously, Mutallab boarded the flight, and only dumb luck kept a disaster from taking place.
The system did not work at all, and if Napolitano thinks it did, we should be looking for another Homeland Security Secretary.