Friday, January 8, 2010
White House report on failed airline bombing reveals glaring mistakes
We're all happy that the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines plane failed on Christmas Day when the alleged terrorist was overpowered and subdued by alert passengers. But a lot of people, including U.S. President Barack Obama, were not happy to find out that federal authorities knew the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab of Nigeria, posed a threat but hadn't yet placed him on a no-fly list. "The intelligence fell through the cracks," Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan told reporters Thursday, according to Cable News Network (CNN). "This happened in more than one organization." That could well be what happened, but it's far from reassuring. Nine years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington exposed major weaknesses in U.S. intelligence and led to the creation of a multibillion-dollar domestic security operation, the new apparatus failed a basic test. "Though all of the information was available to all-source analysts at the CIA and the NCTC [National Counter Terrorism Center] prior to the attempted attack, the dots were never connected," said the report, written by a Brennan-led panel. The dots were never connected? There are terrorists trying to kill us and the government is looking for dots? Maybe that's the problem, right there! It's sounds a little like all of the excuses we heard after the 9-11 attacks about how three hijacked airliners could have flown undisturbed for hours until they had crashed into buildings and killed thousands of people in New York and Washington in 2001, doesn't it? Isn't a little late for the country to rely on luck to prevent terrorist attacks? Or, if we were going to rely on luck, why did we spend those untold billions of dollars on security upgrades?