What’s wrong with this scenario?
An unkempt young man boards a plane in Nigeria bound for the United States, with one stop in Amsterdam. He has no luggage. The man spends over $2,000 cash to buy his ticket nine days earlier, in Ghana. Though his name is clearly on an international watch list of people with known or suspected ties to terrorist organizations, he manages to pass through customs with the necessary passport and visa. Then he passes through screening without any liquid or chemical substances being detected. Neither do they detect the hypodermic syringe in his possession. Though the airport has been provided with full body imaging machines by the U.S., they are not in use. Such machines would have detected PETN, the same chemical used by shoe bomber, Richard Reid.
In Holland, the passenger list is transmitted in full to U.S. authorities for review before Northwest Airlines Flight 253 leaves Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Authorities clear the list for take off. The man, a Muslim, continues on without a problem. (Most people from Nigeria are Muslim)
Feeling safe yet?
After a trans-Atlantic flight, wannabe terrorist Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, 23, spends about twenty minutes in a rest room before the plane approaches the Detroit airport. After returning to his seat, he tries to ignite the crude combination of liquid and chemical substances which erupt into a small fire. The attempt fails as he is subdued by other heroic passengers. It is a poorly made bomb. The White House calls it an apparent terrorist attack. Brilliant.
Once in custody, the suspect speaks freely to authorities — presumably after his Miranda warnings — explaining that he was a trained operative for al Qaeda, and was told to detonate the bomb in the United States over a land mass. All terrorists should be so cooperative.
Answer to the question: Everything is wrong with this scenario.
It demonstrates how incompetent the screening process is, regardless of country. He should not have been issued a visa to the U.S., but he was. He should never have passed through screening, but he was. His cash-bought ticket, absence of luggage and shoddy appearance should have sent up red flags all over. It highlights how investigators and security personnel should be profiling all passengers — particularly Islamists — who exhibit suspicious behavior. Does anyone doubt that Mr. Mutallab would ever have seen the inside of that airplane if the letters on the outside read: El Al Airlines?
It was poor planning and clumsy execution of a supposed terror attack sponsored by an organization known for its deadly accuracy. al Qaeda would not be proud, unless, of course, this was the intended outcome.
The suspect could have detonated the device during his stay in the rest room where there was no chance of being subdued by neighboring passengers. Why not? Could the screw-up have been…deliberate?
Neither does it gel, that the suspect allegedly talked freely with authorities, admitting everything and handing up al Qaeda as the culprit. What does he, or al Qaeda, have to gain by his being a blabbermouth? If only Paul Harvey were alive, so he could tell us the rest of the story.
The dots don’t connect. It’s only logical to conclude that the attention of the United States government and our people may have been cleverly diverted from a more sinister plot.
I certainly don’t have the answer. But I sure hope the Homeland Security Department and the FBI have considered the strong possibility that this was a bogus act for intended for another purpose. There is more to come, to be sure, because the ease with which this man carried out the plan, in the wake of 9/11, is not only frightening, it emboldens the enemy who are licking their chops to kill…you, me and ours.
Remember, everything is not always as it appears.
A few links, for resources:
Here’s the knee jerk reaction:
Read Debbie Schlussel’s report, which suggests that the suspect was allowed to board without a visa or passport. Not confirmed, as yet.