Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas airline bombing foiled - Updated

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) - An attempted terrorist attack on a Christmas Day flight began with a pop and a puff of smoke - sending passengers scrambling to subdue a Nigerian man who claimed to be acting on orders from al-Qaida to blow up the airliner, officials and travelers said.

The commotion began as Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew members from Amsterdam, prepared to land in Detroit just before noon Friday. Travelers said they smelled smoke, saw a glow, and heard what sounded like firecrackers. At least one person climbed over others and jumped on the man, who officials say was trying to ignite an explosive device.

"It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase," said Peter Smith, a passenger from the Netherlands. "First there was a pop, and then (there) was smoke."

Smith said one passenger, sitting opposite the man, climbed over passengers, went across the aisle and tried to restrain the man. The heroic passenger appeared to have been burned.

Afterward, the suspect was taken to a front-row seat with his pants cut off and his legs burned. Multiple law enforcement officials also said the man appeared badly burned on his legs, indicating the explosive was strapped there. The components were apparently mixed in-flight and included a powdery substance, multiple law enforcement and counterterrorism officials said.

The White House said it believed it was an attempted act of terrorism and stricter security measures were quickly imposed on airline travel. Dutch anti-terrorism authorities said the U.S. has asked all airlines to take extra precautions on flights worldwide that are bound for the United States.

The incident was reminiscent of Richard Reid, who tried to destroy a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoes, but was subdued by other passengers.

Multiple law enforcement officials identified the suspect in Friday's attempted attack as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. He was described as Nigerian.

One law enforcement official said the man claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil, but other law enforcement officials cautioned that such claims could not be verified immediately, and said the man may have been acting independently - inspired but not specifically trained or ordered by terror groups.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

Intelligence and anti-terrorism officials in Yemen said they were investigating claims by the suspect that he picked up the explosive device and instructions on how to use it in that country. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

It would be easy to write this guy off as a moron wannabe because his bomb fizzled out but remember nearly all terrorist plots look like something cooked up by the Three Stooges conspiring with the Keystone Cops - until they pull them off successfully. After all if the 9/11 terrorists had been caught the evening of 9/10 the idea that they were going to hijack four airliners and fly them into major American landmarks while armed only with box-cutters would have been greeted with howls of laughter.

I hope that there is some recognition for the quick-acting passenger who jumped the terrorist. Before 9/11 that article would have went out of its way to quote law enforcement and airline officials saying that what the man did was "brave but also foolish". That the best thing to do in that situation is to remain in your seat and allow the flight crew to deal with the problem.

No one thinks like that any more.


This is from American Thinker:

The passengers of Northwest/Delta Airlines Flight 253 are lucky they are still alive. They should be the last passengers in the US exposed to this kind of risk because of political correctness.

The incident would have never happened on a plane flying out of Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, because the Israelis do it right. They try to find out what is on the passenger's mind, not what is in his bag or shoe.

How many dead innocents will it take before the US realizes it has to do the same? Since almost all the terrorist are jihadists who are either Muslims or converts to Islam, security personnel should concentrate on finding out who are the passengers such a mindset, instead of wasting time randomly checking everybody with the same intensity.

At what point will the responsible authorities realize they have to change policy? Is anybody looking forward to being in the unfortunate group whose killing will finally trigger a change? Why not do it NOW?

We all know what the problem is. After Fort Hood only the most stubborn ostriches refuse to acknowledge Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan motives displayed in his power point presentation available in the Washington Post.

It is time to hold politicians who refuse to protect their fellow citizens from jihadi terror accountable. Or would the majority of Americans rather be dead than viewed as politically incorrect?

Here's the problem. The left has succeeded in using America's past racial sins as a stick to beat the nation over the head with to the point that the average American can think of nothing worse than to be branded a racist.

Now the average American knows in his head that it is better to be called a racist than to be killed by a terrorist BUT the average American doesn't really believe in his heart that he is in much danger from terrorism.

Yeah, 9/11 happened but that was over 8 years ago. . .

What it will take to change the average American's mind on these things is for America to experience the kind of terrorism that Israel has experienced.

When Americans know in both their hearts and their heads that a plane which is not screened by Israeli methods will probably be hijacked by jihadists then we will change airport security.

When Americans know in both heart and head that sometime in the next few months that they are going to be on the street of their hometown and a car full of Muslim terrorists will stop and those terrorists will start spraying automatic weapons fire into the crowd. When Americans know that the only thing that can stop a massacre is for the ordinary citizens to be armed and ready to put the terrorist down then average Americans will start carrying pistols and sub-machine guns.

When Americans know in heart and head that Muslim suicide bombers WILL target the places where they and their children shop, eat, work and play they will demand that both their police and private security guards at places like shopping malls be trained to recognize the warning signs of a suicide bomber and be ordered to shoot first, even if they are not 100% sure.

In short nothing will cause America to change its ways other than the average American coming to believe that his life and the lives of his loved ones are in constant danger from Islamic terror.

If that day ever comes I believe that Americans will look at Israel's security measures as a starting point and move well beyond them in order to keep Americans safe.