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Underwear Bomber – It keeps getting better

December 26, 2009

More from ABC News

Short version- We got lucky, the bomb was both powerful enough and sophisticated enough to have brought down the jet. If the detonator hadn’t failed the plot would have been successful. Former Clinton counter-terror exec Richard Clarke says this exposes the weaknesses at US airports and al-Qaeda is exploiting it –

“We’ve known for a long time that this is possible,” said Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar and ABC News consultant, “and that we really have to replace our scanning devices with more modern systems.”

Clarke said full body scans were needed, “but they’re expensive and they’re intrusive. They invade people’s privacy.”

Al Qaeda, said Clarke, is aware of this vulnerability in the U.S. airport security system. “They know that this is a weakness and an Achilles’ heel in our airport security system and this is the second time they’ve tried it.”

I’m not sure how B follows A here since the screening was done overseas. Not that I am arguing that we don’t need to upgrade but that arguing security in US airports is failing based on security screenings that failed at overseas airports is an apple and oranges comparison. Make the case based on the fact that we use the same machines or the same techniques but make the argument based on specifics not on generalized fear.

More importantly –

Investigators believe Abdulmutallab was connected to al Qaeda by the same radical imam, American-born Anwar Awlaki, who is linked to the American Army major accused of opening fire at Fort Hood in November.

How is anybody connected to Awlaki getting on a plane anywhere? If he is how is he doing so without a full body cavity search? This is insanity.

Abdulmutallab was on a terrorism watch list, but not on a no-fly list. Said Clarke, “So once again, we have the U.S. government, as in the case of the Fort Hood attacks, knowing about someone, knowing that they were suspicious, but that information didn’t get to the right people in time.”

Fortunately as soon as we have universal health care these problems will disappear just like joblessness and the national debt.

memeorandum

(BTW I am wondering how do you get linked on memeorandum? I never show up in the duscussion links there even though I link stories from there all the time.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 27, 2009 10:30 am

    “How is anybody connected to Awlaki getting on a plane anywhere? If he is how is he doing so without a full body cavity search?”

    Because that would be (gasp!) profiling, and we can’t have profiling! That would be un-american!

    “This is insanity.”

    This! Is! SPARTA!
    . . .
    No, wait. You’re right. It’s insanity. Or officially sanctioned stupidity (which is basically the same thing).

    “arguing security in US airports is failing based on security screenings that failed at overseas airports is an apple and oranges comparison.”

    They have to look like they’re doing something, even if there’s nothing they can actually do.

    Just look at the “security” restrictions put into place immediately after this happened – passengers can’t leave their seats or have anything in their laps for an hour before landing. Would that really prevent a similar attack? Like that couldn’t be easily worked around? Most (though not all) of our “security” arrangements put in place after 9-11 are no more than theatre, designed to make it look like the powers-that-be are doing something, rather than actually doing something.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      December 28, 2009 4:57 am

      Most (though not all) of our “security” arrangements put in place after 9-11 are no more than theatre, designed to make it look like the powers-that-be are doing something, rather than actually doing something.

      I agree, some of that serves a purpose though. Showing the public that security is a concern helps maintain confidence. That works up to the point that the restrictions become so onerous that everyone loses confidence that the security measures actually are effective. Law of diminishing returns. A much more effective response in my opinion would be to announce the increased personal searches and 100 % searches of all carry-ons as well as a re-evaluation of visas on all people who fit in categories X, Y, Z. Simple targeted and they make sense.

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