Yet again, American intelligence failed us. How is a man able to casually leave an explosives-filled car in Times Square? The answer is beyond me.
The only reason people in Times Square (and the passengers on the Christmas day attempted airplane bombing) were spared their lives was that both alleged terrorists sucked at their job. (Let's not forget the heroes on-board the plane and the vendor in Times Square.)
When are we going to wake up and demand that our government protect us?
A terrorist does not look any one way:
- May 1, 2010: Shahzad Faisal - U.S. National of Pakistani descent.
- December 25, 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab - Nigerian citizen.
- May 8, 2002: Jose Padilla/aka Abdullah al-Muhajir or Muhajir Abdullah - American born to Mexican emigrants.
- December 22, 2001: Richard Reid - born in London, white English mother, Jamaican father of African descent.
- Septermber 11, 2001: Fifteen of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt (Atta), and one from Lebanon.
Really, the only commonality is that all of the above-named men were allowed to board U.S.-bound planes. And airport screeners are not to blame -- their job is to make sure a passenger doesn't board with his 8 ounce bottle of Evian. Of course, airport employees are trained be vigilant of suspicious people but terrorists are trained to not blend in with the crowd and airport screeners are not trained to identify terrorists.
Instead, it is the job of our government to monitor people and gather intelligence so that the terrorist never even boards a plane.
After Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to blow up a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit, talk of Abdulmutallab's name on a "list" became a major subject of discussion. Almost ever media source said the list contains approximately 500,000 people.
This is quite interesting because just last year, on September 9, 2008, TSA's Kip Hawley stated differently: "There are significantly fewer than 50,000 individuals on the No Fly and Selectee lists and only a small percentage of those are in the United States."
America better figure out how to identify a terrorist before he gets to the airport.
Does Homeland Security want us to believe that the only terrorists we should fear are those who are already in the United States? These mean are all around the globe; they are not just the guys on no-fly lists.
But the responsibility is not only President Obama's, Eric Holder's, the FBI's, or that of any other elected official. American citizens have a duty to demand greater intelligence and more answers. As my mom always says, "You don't get unless you ask."
Remember when the Department of Defense issued its report on the Ft. Hood massacre? We didn't probe for more details. Upon its release, I wrote:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates wiped his super-sweaty brow and thought, "Whew! That earthquake was quite the blessing in disguise! Now we can just slip this Ft. Hood report right through without drawing too much media attention."
You see, it's our own damn fault. We are the ones who allow today's news to steam-roll over the answers to yesterday's questions. We are the ones who would rather watch the TV than read the very-boring 86-page "report" -- or as I'd like to call it -- "research paper."
The Department of Defense deflects and shifts the responsibility:
We conclude that although the policies we reviewed were generally adequate, several officers failed to comply with those policies when taking action regarding the alleged perpetrator. We recommend you refer matters of accountability for those failures to the Secretary of the Army for appropriate action.
We also recommend you direct further action on two key concerns identified during our review. We believe that some medical officers failed to apply appropriate judgment and standards of officership with respect to the alleged perpetrator. These individuals failed to demonstrate that officership is the essence of being a member of the military profession regardless of the officer's specialty. We also found that some medical officers failed to include the alleged perpetrator's overall performance as an officer,rather than his solely academic performance, in his formal performance evaluations. An individual's total performance, academic and non-academic, in a school environment must be a partof the formal performance evaluation process to preclude decisions on that individual's career from being flawed because of incomplete information.
Both types of failures, in our view, were significant and warrant immediate attention.
Until we demand more intelligence and better answers from our government, we will continue to see terrorists from every country and of ever color to casually enter America.
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