The Independent has a report on the background of the Christmas day bomber:
Wealthy, quiet, unassuming: the Christmas Day bomb suspect
The inside story of the privileged student who embraced al-Qa’ida and tried to blow a transatlantic jet out of the sky – and the lessons for us all. Here are a few details:
- Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab is 23 years old.
- Abdulmutallab’s father, Umaru,
is the former economics minister of Nigeria. He retired earlier this month as the chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria but is still on the boards of several of Nigeria’s biggest firms, including Jaiz International, a holding company for the Islamic Bank. The 70-year-old, who was also educated in London, holds the Commander of the Order of the Niger as well as the Italian Order of Merit.
- Umaru had alerted US authorities on his son’s radical views six months ago.
- Abdul had graduated from University College London, and previously lived in a $4 million flat in London the rest of us poor slobs sitting in coach can only dream of.
- After graduation he had left the country but when he tried to go back to the UK,
his visa request was refused. He applied to return for a six-month course, but was barred by the UK Border Agency which judged that the college he applied to was “not genuine”.
- He smuggled the explosives through Nigeria and Netherlands security checks:
The high explosive Abdulmutallab used was identified by the FBI as Pentaerythritol, better known as PETN – a major component of Semtex. He injected a detonating liquid into the PETN with a syringe, but the bomb failed to explode.
He had enogh explosives to blow up the plane.
- The explosives were sewn into his underwear. Mark Steyn calls him the pantybomber.
- Apparently he had a valid US visa even when his name was for at least two years in the US list of people with known or suspected contacts or ties to a terrorist or terrorist organization.
- The reason the bomb didn’t go off is because the detonator failed
Here in the US the Transportation Security Administration is intent on making flying more miserable for the rest of us:
Among other steps being imposed, passengers on international flights coming to the United States will apparently have to remain in their seats for the last hour of a flight without any personal items on their laps. Overseas passengers will be restricted to only one carry-on item aboard the plane, and domestic passengers will probably face longer security lines.
Explain to me, please, how do any of these measures prevent in any way an al-Qaeda operative wearing explosives in his underwear from carrying them on the plane.
Obama is golfing and going to the gym because it’s strategy, not incompetent, to trivialize a terrorist attempt.
However, the sociology of the bomber is the same at that of the 9/11 attackers:
The men eager to self-detonate on infidel airliners are not goatherds from the caves of Waziristan but educated middle-class Muslims who have had the most exposure to the western world and could be pulling down six-figure salaries almost anywhere on the planet. And don’t look to “assimilation” to work its magic, either. We’re witnessing a process of generational de-assimilation: In this family, yet again, the dad is an entirely assimilated member of the transnational elite. His son wants a global caliphate run on Wahhabist lines.
Richard Fernandez posts on Storm pretells:
Rep Pete Hoekstra blinks out a message to the public by raising a series of loaded questions in a Fox News interview.
- Has the al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen made a strategic decision to attack the United States?
- The Ft Hood shooter was also connected to Yemen, “is there a pattern”?
- Is US intelligence failing to connect the dots?
- Is the White House is stonewalling on inquiries by the House?
- Is al-Qaeda evolving techniques to “get [weapons] into other environments where they can do significant damage”?
Here’s the video of that interview,
The war on terror is not over. Let’s hope that lesson is not lost again.
1. According to early reports, the suspect is 23-year-old Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, and his name “appears to be included in the government’s records of terrorist suspects, according to a preliminary review.” The first question, then, is how he managed to get a visa to come to the United States.
2. One report suggested that the visa was granted to attend a religious meeting. Is there some political correctness problem that makes State reluctant to deny visas for such travel?
3. A visa might have been granted for a good reason (a chance to interrogate or arrest him) but only in circumstances where he was watched closely. At a minimum, data about him should have gone to DHS and FBI from State. Did it?
4. Even if it didn’t, TSA and DHS should have identified him as a possible risk from his travel reservations. Did they? If not, why not?
5. If they did, was he screened specially at Schiphol? Did DHS put an air marshal on his flight?
Go read the remaining five questions.