I'm Dreaming of an Orange Christmas
Let's get one thing straight: Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian maniac who tried to engulf in flames a plane flying to Detroit yesterday on Christmas, is a Richard Reid/Jose Padilla wannabe who ought to choose his heroes a little more carefully. The attempted attack, which seems to have been thwarted by the passengers, resulted only in this idiot immolating his leg. He is not attached to al Qaeda. Even the TSA is backing off from Abdulmutallab's initial claims of being attached to bin Laden's terrorist network. About the most valuable thing we've learned from all this is that Homeland Security is still using the color-coded terrorist threat level and it's currently still at orange (We just don't see it because the Republicans are no longer in power and it isn't an election year.).
And don't listen to CBS or the other breathless organs of the corporate MSM- This is not an attempted "plane-bombing." The moron who tried to pull this off is no better than the other moron above who once tried to ignite an American flag and wound up setting himself on fire. Neither was this attempt, contrary to blogging reports, on the anniversary of the Richard Reid shoe bombing attempt (Reid was arrested on December 22, 2001, not Christmas).
Yet several other questions remain, such as how a guy who was nonetheless a suspected terrorist got on a flight in Amsterdam, where he boarded his last connector flight, and manage to board a plane with an incendiary device strapped to his leg? True, he didn't board that flight at an American airport, but the Transportation Security Administration has security protocols in effect at all airports for flights inbound to the United States.
Here's the money quote in the Wa Po's article about the maniac who tried to set a plane on fire:
Although not on the TSA's "no-fly" list, Abdulmutallab's name appears to be included in the government's records of terrorism suspects, according to a preliminary review, authorities said.
Uh huh. Soooo, this guy's a suspected terrorist on record with the US government yet somehow he didn't find himself on the largely inclusive No Fly List?
Larisa Alexandrovna arrives at an excellent, if inevitable, conclusion when she says,
Experts have long warned that by expanding the "no-fly" list - which ballooned to over a million names under the Bush administration - to include highly unlikely suspects (such as journalists, babies, US Senators, etc.) undermines the very purpose of having such a list to begin with.
Perhaps if Jim Moore could have been removed from the list (which Karl Rove is alleged to have put him on to begin with) a slot would have been available for Abdulmutallab.
Professor Juan Cole at Informed Consent wrote,
The precise context of such individuals is always difficult to pin down. They fall silent or they exaggerate and lie. I wonder if he has a primarily Nigerian context or a London one. What precise causes animated his hatred? Was he part of an organization or just a small one-off cell?
The incident points to lax security at airports like Abuja and Lagos as a problem for the international system. But it also underlines how difficult it has become for terrorists successfully to attack passenger airliners. Despite (Rep. Peter) King's characterization of Abd al-Mutallib's kit as 'sophisticated,' in fact the scheme strikes me as hare-brained and likely doomed from the beginning. No cause for complaisance here, but contrary to what rightwing politicians are saying, no cause for panic, either.
Prof. Cole is right. Not only is King not to be trusted, the plane was inbound to Detroit, Michigan and King's from New York. He's the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee but he's obviously grandstanding and is still trying to yeast this up as something that it plainly isn't. ("This could have been devastating," he warns.) This guy is not a "sophisticated" terrorist but he had enough of a presence to be put on one terrorist watch list but not one that would've barred him from sharing a plane with innocent people.
Professor Cole is also right when he says we shouldn't fear these idiots but the point he's missing is that it's not these al Qaeda wannabes we need to fear but our own incompetent government. It wasn't Uncle Sam who brought this idiot down but We the People of the United States who largely make up the No Fly Watch List.