Sunday, December 27, 2009

Obama Administration Dismantling Anti-Terrorist Safeguards

In case you haven't figured it out yet, the Obama administration has successfully dismantled basic safeguards to protect Americans from terrorist attacks over the past year. It's more important that we not offend the Muslims than it is to protect the safety and national security of our country. A man named Abdul is allowed to board an international, Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam with a ticket he purchased with cash, he checks no luggage and apparently doesn't even have a passport. Big surprise when he tries to detonate explosives as the plane approaches its landing over Detroit. Like bin Laden, the terrorist comes from an extremely wealthy family, is well-educated and had been living in a swanky London apartment. His father, a Nigerian banker, had warned the U.S. embassy of his son's radicalized Islamic beliefs at least six months ago to no avail. Abdul had recently traveled to Yemen and may have had contacts with the same al-Qaeda-linked cleric that Major Nidal Hasan conversed prior to his shooting rampage at Ft. Hood that left more than a dozen soldiers dead and dozens of others wounded. The British wisely refused to renew the man's visa after he was placed on a terrorist watch list. Obama's DHS welcomed the man aboard, a decision that nearly ended the lives of at least 278 passengers.


Cato said...

You truly can't be serious. Obama has been vigorously continuing each and every last freedom-destroying tyranny Bush and the neocons used to attack America.

Obama is every bit a Republican, and our hope for change was foolish.

Jeff said...

Gary, I have been thinking about this story for awhile as I hear stories emerge. While there may have been changes in travel security I am not aware of I am struggeling to see how the US dropped the ball here. This was a passenger that bought a ticket in Nigeria, traveled to Amsterdam where he boarded a Northwest or Delta or I am not sure what airline flight. First of all if they are not sure he has a passport how do we know he has a VISA? I have traveled pretty extensively but I admit not alot lately. But I have never ever had a departing country ask me for the Visa of the country I was going to. They asked me for my passport upon departure...sometimes. So I am really intrigued as to how US policy and the senator calling for hearings makes a bit of difference to the folks at the airport in Amsterdam? Help me out on how our policy effects the airports in other countries except at the counter of US owned airliners?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Not sure if this will answer your question, Jeff, but one of the weak links is how people from countries on the African country where Britain used to have colonies are considered British nationals. I believe Nigeria is a former British colony, which probably means that this man held a British passport. The news reports out of the UK indicate that Britain had refused to renew his travel visa. Generally speaking, people from Western European countries are able to participate in the visa waiver program with the U.S., which means they don't have to obtain a visitor visa to visit the U.S. They are supposed to have a valid passport from a qualifying country, however. Perhaps he used a British passport to travel from Amsterdam to the U.S. since the U.K revoked his privileges.

Gary R. Welsh said...

You've got to be kidding, Cato. Obama's administration will not even utter the words terrorist or terrorism any more out of fear of sending the wrong message to the Muslim world.

Gary R. Welsh said...

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano's comments during an interview on the terror plot are absolutely incredible. Here's her response to a question about the man's links to terrorism:

"Right now, that is part of the criminal justice investigation that is ongoing, and I think it would be inappropriate to speculate as to whether or not he has such ties.

What we are focused on is making sure that the air environment remains safe, that people are confident when they travel. And one thing I’d like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. We instituted new measures on the ground and at screening areas, both here in the United States and in Europe, where this flight originated.

So the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly."

She's got to be kidding. The system worked?

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

There's no way in the post-9/11 world that the passengers would let a would-be hijacker light a fire on an airplane without leaping to subdue him.

Which is exactly what happened.

No "sharp objects" or "liquids over three ounces" were involved.

Hoosier in the Heartland said... one who travels internationally often, there's always an additional layer of screening for passengers on US-destination flights. It takes place right before the boarding lounge and involves not only re-screening, but re-checking of travel documents.

IndyPaul said...

Interesting take, when Abdul was issued a visa by the Bush administration. Its easy to see the sensationaling of an attempted terrorist attack as blatently political when partisans who previously branded such critism as unamerican quickly change their tune under a new administration, despite the fact that the visa was issued under the old administration.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, The issuance of that visa two years ago didn't automatically ensure his travel to the U.S. He was still supposed to be screened. If he had been, then he could have never boarded without a passport. The purchase of a ticket with cash and no luggage should have automatically raised red flags. The screeners would have also detected his recent travels to Yemen. If he had simply been searched as I've been before while going through security at the airport, the explosive devices would have been detected.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I would add, Paul, that it is quite possible there was nothing in his background at the time he was issued the visa to raise concerns. His family gives the impression that he only recently cut off contacts with them and became radicalized.

artfuggins said...

The U.S. officials would have applied their safeguards upon arrival at the Detroit airport as he was passing through customs. I don't see how any of this can be blamed on our government. I travel frequently to international destinations and upon boarding to return to this country all I need is my ticket and passport. These are frequently rechecked at the gate or even on the jetway and sometimes even again at the door of the plane. It is not until I get to my U.S.port of entry that a thorough check and frequent questions are used by U.S. immigration officials.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Well, art, then what are all of those DHS employees doing working at foreign airports with flights bound to the U.S. if they aren't screening passengers?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Also, art, don't forget that you are re-entering the U.S. as an American citizen with an American passport. Your entry isn't going to be handled just like a foreign traveler's entry.

Cato said...

"Obama's administration will not even utter the words terrorist or terrorism any more out of fear of sending the wrong message to the Muslim world."

The Democrats stopped using "War on Terror" because it's absolutely idiotic and freedom-destroying to declare wars on objects and abstract entities.

A "War on Terror" is a neocon power grab for perpetual war, the likes of which is de rigeur for all leftist tyrants.

artfuggins said...

Yes, you are correct. There are lines for US citizens and lines for non citizens. While the lines for non citizens seem to move at the same pace as the citizen lines, I have no idea if the same procedures are used.

Anonymous said...

Well, at the very least, this incident works for the Obama Administration and the media to work together to generate public support to increase military activity in Yemen ("The latest front in The War on Terror"), and to further eliminate the privacy rights of US citizens.

In the end, although the so-called "bomb" didn't explode, our corporate controlled globalist government has transformed the failed attempt into an overwhelming success. At our expense.

NWP1 said...

Seriously folks, if you are expecting politicians to secure your safety you have lost your minds. Either party would be more than willing to sell your life or mine to ensure the next election. You folks from Indy should be most dubious of politicians in light of recent events.

To a better question, why did this animal survive the landing? Now the Obama administration will ensure he is well cared for medically, feed and given a civil trial as opposed to being packed off to Gitmo and a military tribunal.

Too bad the NWA captain didn't DB Cooper his *** into the Detroit River.

Marv said...


You will never get these pseudo-libertarians to admit that Obama is just Bush with a sun tan and better teleprompter skills.

They are more then willing to surrender their liberty for the illusion of safety. They just prefer to surrender it to Republicans rather than to Democrats.

By the way, what I love is that in response to this latest isolated incident the new safety rule is that all passengers must remain seated for the final hour of all flights and must stow personal items for the final hour of the flight. Why not just strap us all down and insert catheters. What a stupid knee jerk reaction.

? said...

AI - Wow, there's just all sorts of things wrong with this post.

Firstly, I fail to see how either of the articles you linked to support the idea that our anti-terrorist safeguards are being dismantled. Where is the documentation of changes in policy or procedure to support this statement? One person saying something differently does not mean the government has changed anything. Show some evidence of actual policy changes if you're going to purport this has happened. Also, I find no credible news report of the bomber boarding without a passport. I find the story highly suspect and again ask for a link to a direct interview with the primary source and corroboration of the story from a secondary source. Otherwise, all you've got is hearsay.

Secondly, it's fairly obvious you haven't traveled internationally in the past few years? Have you ever traveled overseas? I have, in fact I've flown KLM from Schiphol (the airport in Amsterdam) to Detroit and have first hand experience with the security for the trip in question. In Amsterdam, the security staff was local and it was the some of most stringent security I've seen anywhere. Also, just because I was an American returning to America didn't mean I got different treatment. I flew into Gatwick (in London) and out of Amsterdam and had to provide quite an extensive explanation as to why I was doing so. I'm a middle-aged, white woman with an English (as in England) derived last name. I don't fit any profile for anything other than maybe soccer mom. Are you doing anything besides reading/relying on blogs and sites that provide incomplete or erroneous information or are you just assuming things without bothering to inform yourself of the facts?

Finally, the fact that the ticket was purchased by a man named Abdul using cash may not necessarily be enough to flag the transaction. Do you know the purchasing habits of the typical traveler in Nigeria? Yes it would be unusual in the United States but maybe it's common practice there. I don't know and I'd bet you don't either. To imply that this alone should have flagged the trip is ignorant, it may be no more unusual than some guy named Steve buying a ticket with his debit card in the US.

Yeah, so that's about it. I doubt you'll post this. I've commented before (and questioned you) and you haven't. I don't expect any different this time. That's your right but it's pretty gutless if you ask me. Engage in a debate, back up your views with some true reporting or keep on blathering with no credibility. Either option is fine with me.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Andrea, I only block a person's comments when they consist of nothing but personal attacks. I only recall blocking one of your comments, and that is the reason it was not published. There are any number of news sources that are raising questions about the Obama administration's handling of anti-terrorism concerns. From the early days of his administration, Obama has made it clear we are taking a different approach towards Muslims. That means throwing all caution to the wind whether it involves Maj. Hasan or Abdul. Here's a snippet of one news report that should make that point clear, but I'm sure it won't satisfy you because you are convinced Barack Obama can do no wrong:

"The embassy visit by Abdulmatallab's father triggered a Nov. 20 State Department cable from Lagos to all U.S. diplomatic missions and department headquarters in Washington. It was also shared with the interagency National Counter Terrorism Center, said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

The NCTC, which has responsibility if any visas are to be pulled over terrorism concerns, then reviewed the information and found it was "insufficient to determine whether his visa should be revoked," Kelly said.

Michael Chertoff, who was homeland security secretary in the Bush administration, questioned why Abdulmutallab's visa wasn't revoked. It's a "serious indicator" when a parent goes to authorities to discuss concerns about his child and it "certainly would cause me to ask questions," said Chertoff in an interview.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded Monday that the aviation security system failed, backtracking from a statement Sunday in which she said it worked."

Anonymous said...

I have never failed to be asked for a passport when traveling internationally - and I'm an American traveling with students. I have yet to be convinced the guy was able to do this.

Anonymous said...


You and me both. I've travelled multiple world destinations on numerous occasions, for both business and pleasure. I have never been allowed to check in for an international flight from any nation without presenting my passport - even when my departure is a connecting flight and I have not exited the secured area during my layover. The mantra is "Please have your boarding passes and passports ready when boarding the plane".

Which means that there were multiple failures: Failure to respond to warnings from his family, failure to detect a supposed explosive device, failure to check for a passport three times - at check-in, at security, and at boarding, and lord only knows how many other security failures, all for this one individual.

As far as our government benefitting from the failures by using them to advance foreign policy in Yemen and to increase domestic security and surveillance, these events couldn't have been better if they were planned.

POPA said...

I've read AI's comments in total and still there is nothing showing a single change in policy that supports the headline about the administration ''dismantling'' safeguards, unless talking somehow protects us. You might not like that Obama is less interested in offending Muslims than you, but NOTHING has changed in security protocol. . However, I do think we'd be better off if we had a Traffic Safety Administration director who could focus on working out sharing information between agencies, but we can't get one confirmed because of a hold by a South Carolina Senator who is afraid the Obama nominee will let TSA employees unionize. Who knows how many more scares we'll have that might have been avoided hadn't one man so hated unions.

Downtown Indy said...

Do we still have a 'war on poverty,' 'war on drugs' etc.?

I just don't get the sudden significance of 'we don't declare war on objects' rationalizations. But that's been added to a lot of folks talking points lately.