Air travel. We Americans do a lot of it. More than most countries, by a long shot. I do quite a bit myself – by Dec. 31 I will have logged nearly 200,000 miles this year alone.
What disturbs me about the botched attack by a young Nigerian radical on a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit is that it could have easily been thwarted.
A 23 year-old man buys a one-way ticket with cash and has no luggage on an overseas flight. Are you kidding me? I buy a one-way ticket on my credit card on any flight other than US Airways (the carrier I use the most) and I am almost always selected for secondary security screening.
The New York Times reports that Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano initially said “the system worked.” Of course that is absurd, and she quickly had to backtrack on that statement, trying to brush it aside as being taken “out of context.”
From the New York Times article:
Ms. Napolitano was not the only Obama administration official to initially portray the episode, in which passengers and flight attendants subdued Mr. Abdulmutallab and doused the fire he had started, as a test that the air safety system passed.
Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, echoed the positive comments Ms. Napolitano made on ABC’s “This Week, ” saying in an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS that “in many ways, this system has worked.”
But counterterrorism experts and members of Congress were hardly willing to praise what they said was a security system that had proved to be not nimble enough to respond to the ever-creative techniques devised by would-be terrorists.
Congressional leaders said the tip from Mr. Abdulmutallab’s father, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, should have resulted in closer scrutiny of the suspect before he boarded the plane in Amsterdam. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, the ranking minority member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said his visa should have been revoked or at least he should have been given a physical pat-down or a full-body scan.
“This individual should not have been missed,” Ms. Collins said in an interview on Sunday. “Clearly, there should have been a red flag next to his name.”