Speaking to Candy Crowley of CNN earlier today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked about the failed terror attack that occurred on Christmas Day aboard a jet bound from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Per Napolitano, "the system worked" (see the video, also at peekURL.com/vcmnigh ).
Obviously, the system didn't work; the only things that averted tragedy were a failed detonator (link) and an alert passenger who subdued the terrorist. The DHS clearly failed, but so too did the State Department and perhaps other agencies.
Rep. Peter King responds to Napolitano, saying (link) "The fact is the system did not work, and we have to find a bipartisan way to fix it. He made it on the plane with explosives and detonated the explosive." Rep. Pete Hoekstra says: "It's important for the president or the secretary to be more out there and reminding people just how real this threat was and how deadly it is... For the first three months of this administration, they refused to use the word terrorism."
UPDATE: This is titled "Flight 253 passenger: Sharp-dressed man aided terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab onto plane without passport". According to the passenger, Mutallab's alleged accomplice used (or just tried to use) social engineering to get Mutallab on the plane. If true, Mutallab might not have appeared in the passenger manifest, and how DHS could prevent people from coming here if they aren't on the manifest isn't entirely clear.
12/28/09 UPDATE: Napolitano has re-spun her earlier remarks. And, a chorus of administration defenders appear to be helping the Obama administration throw her under the Obama bus, although whether she'll resign remains to be seen. When even Matt Lauer asks her tough questions, you know she's not in great shape (link):
In an interview Monday on NBC’s Today Show, Napolitano said her words in Sunday’s CNN interview had been “taken out of context.” She said the comment referred to the reaction in the 60-90 minutes after the suspect attempted to blow up the plane. Up until that point, did the system fail miserably, Matt Lauer asked. “It did,” she responded... Lauer pressed: How does a guy who’s on this general terror list, who buys a one-way transtlantic ticket with cash, who checks no luggage, and who’s own father has flagged him to authorities, get on the plane? Napolitano said that “our system did not work in this instance” and no one “is happy or satisfied with that.” She maintained “air travel is safe.”
And, from this:
CBS News has learned the State Department system designed to keep track of active U.S. visas twice failed to reveal Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had been issued an active visa allowing him multiple entries into the United States.
12/28/09 UPDATE 2: Per this, Mutallab was added to a general list of those with possible links to terrorism based on his father's visit to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria. However, he wasn't added to more selective lists because there wasn't enough proof.
12/29/09 UPDATE: There's more on which agencies had access to what information here.
Sun, 12/27/2009 - 13:51 · Importance: 4