Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Flying Rules

No more leaving our seats, having anything on our laps or accessing our carry-on bags in the final hour of a flight.

Do you suppose they're too dumb to figure out they now have to execute their strategies at the beginning of a flight?

While they were shaking Mommies and Nannas down making sure we didn't have any more than 2 oz of Channel and Lancome, another radical named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab slipped right by them with a firecracker, chemicals and a syringe.

Far be it from Obamas wizards to profile people getting on planes and search them more closely. This one was even on the terror watch list.

The 278 passengers on the eight-hour Delta Airways flight from Amsterdam were first alerted that something was wrong when they heard what was described as "a firecracker in a pillowcase".

One passenger, Jasper Schuringa, who was the first on the plane to tackle and subdue the suspect, told CNN: "I basically reacted directly. when you hear a pop on the plane, you are awake. I just jumped. I didn't think, I just went over there and tried to save the plane – and we did."

Mr Schuringa, who had burns to one of his hands, added: "A fire started under his seat. I was calling for water, water. But then the fire was getting a little worse. So I grabbed the suspect out of the seat, because, if there was any more explosives on him, that would have been very dangerous. And then the flight attendants came. We took him to first class and stripped him to make sure he had no more weapons on him. "It was very quick. Everyone was panicking," he said of the scene on the descending aircraft.

Mr Schuringa, who was due to connect in Detroit to a Miami flight for a Christmas holiday, said of the suspect: "He was shaking. He didn't resist anything. It's just hard to believe that he was trying to blow up this plane. He was in a trance. He was very afraid."

Mr Schuringa also said that when he first grabbed the suspect he saw a burning liquid dripping on to the floor.

The high explosive Abdulmutallab used was identified by the FBI as Pentaerythritol, better known as PETN – a major component of Semtex. He injected a detonating liquid into the PETN with a syringe, but the bomb failed to explode.

The revelation of Abdulmutallab's background has confounded terror experts. Dr Magnus Ranstorp of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College said that the attempted bombing "didn't square".

"On the one hand, it seems he's been on the terror watch list but not on the no-fly list," he said. "That doesn't square because the American Department for Homeland Security has pretty stringent data-mining capability. I don't understand how he had a valid visa if he was known on the terror watch list.

"Why didn't he go to the toilets to detonate the bomb? Why would he try to set it off 20 minutes before he's going to land? It could probably have been successful had the person not been amateurish. I think this is a sign that it's much more difficult now for al-Qa'ida to pull off something serious." Chaim Koppel, a security consultant, added: "I think the explosive was supposed to go bang rather than just start a fire. The terrorists probably didn't mix it well enough. Maybe they didn't do enough practice runs, but the more the guy is trained, the more exposed he is to MI5, MI6, the FBI and other security agencies, so he probably didn't receive enough training."

Nigerian newspapers reported that Abdulmutallab's father, who lives in Katsina, Nigeria, had informed the US embassy of his son's activities because he had become so concerned about his religious views.

A source said Dr Mutallab was "devastated" at the news but also "surprised" his son had been allowed to travel after he had reported him to the authorities. Abdulmutallab had allegedly become noted for his extreme religious views when he was at the British International School in Togo, where he is said to have preached Islam to his friends.

God be with this Dad, I can't imagine the heartbreak of having to turn in your own son.

Perhaps it's time to admit that Homeland Security needs a few less 10 dollar an hour employees checking our socks and redirect their resources to an undercover presence at every University Campus around the world, situated directly at the Muslim Center. Terrorists eventually talk the talk, especially if you throw a little party around Ramadan and supply a few cocktails.

Ramp it up a bit intellectually.

UPDATE: US Officials say security measures are under review.

Yes, not to worry. Obama has ordered a review of flight screenings from the golf course in Hawaii.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief tho, today, the crew on the same Amsterdam to Detroit flight let a second disruptive Nigerian passenger hole himself up in the bathroom for over an hour.

The Associated Press reported that the passenger in question was a man from Nigeria, the same country of suspect in Friday’s terrorism attempt. The second Nigerian man was taken into custody after locking himself in the airliner’s lavatory, The A.P. reported. CNN reported that the man had locked himself in the lavatory for such a long time that the crew requested help on the ground.

Color me a skeptic, but the day after a serious threat, when they should be on their, let's just say a system that can't figure out a threat until the suspicious character is holed up in the bathroom lighting the fuses is a little substandard. Otherwise, if we happen to get hit with a good case of food poisoning, we all may be taking an embarrassing detour.

Somehow, I'm getting the feeling the luminaries are going to put cameras in the powder rooms, instead of setting up surveillance where they're making the plans and catching them before they get on the plane.


Anonymous said...

The Bank Bailout czar was busy catching those after Christmas sales along with Stimulus Accountability czar, both joined the Compensation czar or Pay czar Special Master in Honolulu for Roasted Pig so they aren't to blame. AND the Border czar, Cyber czar and Information czar were in Conference with the Intelligence czar at an undisclosed 5 Star retreat! AND the Terrorism czar and nonproliferation czar are still trying to figure out how Santa Claus was allowed to fly in US restricted air space unrecognized!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it! NOW they say the guy didn't evenhave a passport, bought a one way ticket at the last moment & paid cash? Any reason for alarm? God Save US!