As others see it: People: The best defenseIn the almost two weeks since officials say a Nigerian man tried to blow up a commercial airliner en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, it’s been depressing to watch reactions from U.S. and other governments about aviation security.
By: St. Cloud Times, Worthington Daily Globe
In the almost two weeks since officials say a Nigerian man tried to blow up a commercial airliner en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, it’s been depressing to watch reactions from U.S. and other governments about aviation security.
Depression arose the moment Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to claim the bombing failed because “the system” worked. Virtually every detail released since her comments shows the system failed — perhaps even more miserably than the suspect, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Really, though, the most depressing aspect is how discussions of how to fix “the system” have jumped with light speed to focusing on full-body scanners. ...
Sure, these machines have a place in improving aviation security. But to position them (or their absence) as the main reason Abdulmutallab got as far as he did ignores the biggest problem: The agencies and people worldwide charged with intelligence gathering and aviation security failed to communicate with each other.
That’s depressing because “the system” put in place since 9/11 was supposed to tear down communication walls. Yet Abdulmutallab’s actions show that no matter how many clues a suspect creates, you have to wonder if anybody is paying attention. ...
In May (eight months ago!) British officials refused to renew Abdulmutallab’s visa because it was bogus. They put him on their “watch list,” which barred him from returning to Britain.
In late summer, he traveled from London to Yemen, a known al-Qaida hotbed and country in which Abdulmutallab had lived for almost two years. About the same time, U.S. intelligence officials learned of an al-Qaida terrorist plot in Yemen that included a recruit labeled “the Nigerian.”
On Nov. 19, Abdulmutallab’s father in Nigeria warned the local U.S. Embassy his son was missing and might be tied to Yemeni radicals.
While embassy officials wasted no time in sharing the information with the State Department, no moves were made to revoke his U.S. tourist visa and no one made the connection between “the Nigerian” and the Yemeni plot. Ultimately, his name never was added to any no-fly list.
Look at all that intelligence gathered by multiple entities. Yet the debate about improving aviation security now focuses mostly on body scanners? ...
St. Cloud Times