First, consider this, sourced to a report by ABC’s Jake Tapper:
Bomb experts say there was more than enough explosive to bring down the Northwest jet, which had nearly 300 people aboard, had the detonator not failed, and the nation’s outdated airport screening machines may need to be upgraded.
“We’ve known for a long time that this is possible,” said Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar and ABC News consultant, “and that we really have to replace our scanning devices with more modern systems.”
Clarke said full body scans were needed, “but they’re expensive and they’re intrusive. They invade people’s privacy.”
Al-Qaeda, said Clarke, is aware of this vulnerability in the U.S. airport security system. “They know that this is a weakness and an Achilles’ heel in our airport security system and this is the second time they’ve tried it.”
Napolitano is trying to backtrack on her statement, beginning with an appearance on Fox News:
“Here, clearly, something went awry. We want to fix that problem,” Napolitano told Fox News on Monday.
She said officials are doing a complete review to determine what needs to change to prevent such a passenger from clearing security in the future.
“No secretary of Homeland Security would sit here and say that a system worked prior to this incident which allowed this individual to get on this plane,” Napolitano said. Her comments marked a change in tone from the day before, when she lauded security officials’ handling of the affair.
On Fox News, Napolitano clarified Monday that she was referring to security precautions that went into effect for other flights following the incident in Detroit.
“My comment was that once this incident occurred we were able to immediately notify the 128 flights already in the air from Europe,” she said. “We were able to immediately institute new security precautions. … And we were immediately able to provide additional security for the traveling public.” …
“This individual was able to get on this plane with this material. That should not have happened,” she said.
From the same Fox report above, what her Sunday statement actually reveals is her attitude toward Homeland Security. To Napolitano, it’s the bureaucratic shuffling that takes place after an incident that matters most. Unfortunately, that jibes with the policing, or criminal law, approach also advocated by Obama. Fighting terrorism is not a proactive military quest with this group, it is a reactive policing affair. What that doesn’t do is put America’s security first in our global battle with radical religious terrorists who seek to do America and Americans great harm and cause a large number of our deaths:
I think the important thing to recognize here is that once this incident occurred, everything happened that should have. … We trained for this. We planned for this.
If Obama wants to convince the American people he takes protecting them and the homeland seriously, he’d do well to end his extended golf outing in Hawaii. Once back, if he then wants to show his commitment to the kind of change he promised, change that appoints competent individuals based on their expertise, and not as political favors bestowed upon unqualified political hacks because they helped him get elected, he should fire the hapless Napolitano immediately upon his return.
Until he does that, Americans are right to question whether Obama’s chief concern is his backswing, or striking a blow against radical terrorists still so obviously intent on taking a fatal swing at us.