Umar Abdulmutallab, son of a well known Nigerian banker, tried to wreck Christmas to the Christian world, Hanukkah to the Jewish world and last but not least New Year’s Eve to the entire world by attempting to blast more than 300 people on a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit. Thanks to the passengers on that flight some of whom pay federal taxes so that the government takes care of their national security – no harm is done to anything but the governmental bureaucracy’s reputation, one that is rarely popular anywhere in the world.
In fact, on this year’s Christmas, the word buraucracy turned from dirty to a dirtier one. Working in the public sector is most likely expected to be perceived as getting taxpayers’ money for doing nothing or what politically incorrect people would call stealing from the taxpayers’ money.
I really liked Evan Kohlmann’s analysis on Foreign Policy, and, as you can see, that’s where I got my title from, not that it is the only article that makes reasonable people ponder as to how in the world that terrorist managed to evade the strict and merciless buraucratic methods of making sure that a passenger has nothing behind their sleeves. The flaw is easily discernible after reading the today’s BBC news article about President Barack Obama’s comments on the issue supplemented by information about Umar Abdulmutallab. In the end, the article says the following:
Mr Abdulmutallab’s name was added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, but not put on a no-fly list.
Here’s what Evan Kohlmann said in her analysis:
There is very little reason to believe that — even with the added security measures now in place — the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would be capable of finding and stopping the next Abdulmutallab.
As you can see, the weakest link here is called lack of communication between the different governmental agencies, in particular between the TSA and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) which regulates the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE). The NCTC is under the control of the President and the National and Homeland Security Councils. It was created after the atacks on 9/11 attacks which goes to show that the measure that was taken eight years ago hasn’t made much of a difference. There can hardly be found a legitimate excuse for missing to inform the TSA about the TIDE list, all the more when it comes to the country that spends more money for its national and homeland security than the next 14 nations on the list taken together.
While it is true that there isn’t a perfect security system invented so far, the American security system failed in everything, including in their disregarding Umar’s father’s warning the American embassy in Nigeria about his son’s radicalized mentality. Another argument against the American bureaucrats is Umar’s route which included Ethiopia, Yemen, Ghana, Nigeria, the Netherlands and the U.S.
As long as the system works, I have nothing against being checked by customs officers both before embarking on a plane to anywhere – not just the United States – and before exiting an airport after a flight, and explaining to them whatever they have to know. In fact, I don’t disregard the fact that they often catch restricted items held with the passengers, and also that there has been good work overall at the airports against terrorists but what happened on Christmas was a big slap to them.
Namely on Christmas when airports are most crowded and when these employees should be even more alert since Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups would want to ruin the people’s holidays. In the beginning, they did two successful terrorist attacks on the 11th day of a particular month – on September 11 New York, Pennsylvania and D.C. and on March 11 in Madrid – which somewhat created allegations that there is something symbollic in their picking up a specific date. Now is time for the next allegation which hints the following: save the holidays!