Let me see if I get this. Airline passengers must now stay in their seats for the last hour of the flight, keep their hands out of their laps, stay out of their carry-ons, and no electronic devices. That’s enough to cause me to become a terrorist! Can you imagine, nothing to do for a freaking hour? No music, no reading, no nothing! What about the first part of the flight? There’s no terrorist risk then? Give me a damn break, you looney tunes security geeks.
While ordinary citizens take their shoes off to pass through security, Christmas Day’s leg bomber had no such scrutiny. In fact, he boarded the plane in Nigeria with a pantsful of the explosive PETN. Despite his father having reported concerns about extremism to the US Embassy, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was not on the no-fly list. In fact, he had a valid visa to enter the US for a religious seminar. The visa, issued June 16, 2008, is valid until June 12, 2010. As it turns out, he did not have a return trip ticket.
None of this raised any red flags or concerns? I’m stunned, yet Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolotano said the system worked. The system didn’t do shit! It was Dutch tourist Jasper Schuringa that saved NW 253. What Napolotano should have said is the system over-reacted in exemplary fashion. They imposed extra searches, including pat-downs, and the do-nothing-for-the-last-hour rule.
Here’s the key point from my perspective. US law enforcement and intelligence agencies had Abdulmutallab in their databases. His own father was concerned the man had become “radicalized.” Yet, he’s not on the no-fly list, and he boards a plane destined for the US with no return ticket. And this does not raise any red flags with any security officials until after the man burns his pants off?
This incident seems to demonstrate inter-agency cooperation is no better than before 9-11. It show, obviously, international air travel security still has major flaws. But that won’t stop the Transportation Security Administration from making domestic passengers pay a price. After all, the more painful security is, the more effective it must be, right?
Nonetheless, the same Amsterdam-Detroit flight had a scare today as a Nigerian passenger stayed in the lavatory for over an hour. After being taken into custody, the man was found to be a Nigerian businessman who presented no threat to the aircraft.
Is this where we’re headed in air travel? Guilty until proven innocent?