Calling Airport Security

By CLAY MORAN

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Christmas often resembles a time for reflection, usually with family and friends.

While thousands of Americans enjoyed each other’s companionship this Christmas, at approximately 11:40 a.m., EST, passengers aboard Northwest Airlines flight 253 undoubtedly reflected upon their lives.

On final approach into Detroit’s Metro Wayne International Airport, a terrorist operative, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, detonated an explosive device concealed in his underwear; fortunately, the device failed to ignite.

Chaos doesn’t begin to describe the entailing political upheaval.  Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano immediately declared, “The [intelligence] system worked.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) drastically increased “security measures” on all U.S.-bound international flights.  However, the heart of the story lies within the State Department’s ensuing investigation.

Soon after the investigation began, miscommunication between intelligence agencies became an obvious fault.  Abdulmutallab’s father, a respectable Nigerian banker, alerted both the Nigerian security services and U.S. embassy weeks before the attack, according to The Guardian.

Following the attacks, Scotland Yard and MI5, in joint cooperation with US intelligence, began to establish where Abdulmutallab was trained and how he became radicalized.

In May, Abdulmutallab’s visa application for college study in the U.K. was rejected.  According to the Washington Post, further investigations lead officials to a branch of al–Qaeda based in Yemen where Abdulmutallab received his radical training. The question that continues to plague the State Department is, “How did Abdulmutallab receive a U.S. visa?”

Prior to applying, his name appeared on a general watchlist.  Officials claimed there was not substantial, credible information to move his name onto the “No-fly” list, despite an imminent warning from his father.  Clearly, the intelligence system did not work.

The alarmed public questioned how Abdulmutallab cleared airport security with explosive material, especially at Amsterdam’s Schipol International, one of the world’s most secure airports.  The explosive material, pentaerythritol tetranitrate, would not set off the airport’s metal detector, reported the Seattle Times. Instead, if the individual required a full–body scan (by triggering the metal detector), then the explosive would have been located.

The thwarted bomb attempt is the Obama Administration’s first experience with an imminent international terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  While the intelligence community failed to put together the pieces of the puzzle, it appears President Obama did not receive crucial information either.

In September, administration officials traveled to Saudi Arabia in order to investigate the attempted assassination of a top counterterrorism official, carried out by AQAP  (al–Qaeda, Arabian Peninsula), according to Time.

Similar explosives that were used on the Christmas day attack were used, sewn into clothing.  However, the information was not distributed accordingly.

The Obama Administration undoubtedly needs to alter informational policies to share information between intelligence agencies, the Administration, and the TSA.

Additionally, an official director must be appointed to the TSA to appropriate and assess threats to the commercial aviation industry.

The new “security system”–– five–minute questioning and passport check at check–in, security, passport check and questioning, additional security, pat-down, and passport information recorded –– will limitedly work on U.S.–bound flights.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of experiencing this process.  In the past, and in the future, this will only serve as deterrence to terrorists.

The collaboration of governmental agencies will help provide initiative to address security threats.  Regardless, airport security begins and ends with examination of articles brought onto a plane–– in luggage and on person.  Full body screening, despite the controversy, offers the most secure flying experience for all passengers.

After all, if you have nothing to hide, then you should have nothing to fear.

n immi n `2 al terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  While the intelligence community failed to put together the pieces of the puzzle, it appears President Obama did not receive crucial information either.

In September, administration officials traveled to Saudi Arabia in order to investigate the attempted assassination of a top counterterrorism official, carried out by AQAP  (al–Qaeda, Arabian Peninsula), according to Time.

Similar explosives that were used on the Christmas day attack were used, sewn into clothing.  However, the information was not distributed accordingly.

The Obama Administration undoubtedly needs to alter informational policies to share information between intelligence agencies, the Administration, and the TSA.

Additionally, an official director must be appointed to the TSA to appropriate and assess threats to the commercial aviation industry.

The new “security system”–– five–minute questioning and passport check at check–in, security, passport check and questioning, additional security, pat-down, and passport information recorded –– will limitedly work on U.S.–bound flights.

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of experiencing this process.  In the past, and in the future, this will only serve as deterrence to terrorists.

The collaboration of governmental agencies will help provide initiative to address security threats.  Regardless, airport security begins and ends with examination of articles brought onto a plane–– in luggage and on person.  Full body screening, despite the controversy, offers the most secure flying experience for all passengers.

After all, if you have nothing to hide, then you should have nothing to fear.