Christmas Terror Attempt: Open Thread

I don't have anything brilliant to say about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian man who tried to set off an explosive on a Christmas Day flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. But I wanted to give people a place to talk about the situation, so here's an Open Thread, and a few of the most recent relevant articles as recommended reading.

WSJ: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Says Air Security Failed

(There is a paraphrase of the relevant bit of this video at the link. If anyone can locate a transcript for this Today show interview between Matt Lauer and Napolitano, please drop a link in comments. )

NYT—Explosive on Flight 253 Is Among Most Powerful: "Sewn into the underwear of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a powerful plastic explosive, the authorities say. Had Mr. Abdulmutallab, sitting in seat 19A of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Friday from Amsterdam to Detroit, been able to set off the explosive, it might have blown a hole in the side of the airplane and caused it to crash, experts believe."

WaPo—Uninvestigated terrorism warning about Detroit suspect called not unusual:
When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father in Nigeria reported concern over his son's "radicalization" to the U.S. Embassy there last month, intelligence officials in the United States deemed the information insufficient to pursue. The young man's name was added to the half-million entries in a computer database in McLean and largely forgotten.

The lack of attention was not unusual, according to U.S. intelligence officials, who said that thousands of similar bits of information flow into the National Counterterrorism Center each week from around the world. Only those that indicate a specific threat, or add to an existing body of knowledge about an individual, are passed along for further investigation and possible posting on airline and border watch lists.

"It's got to be something that causes the information to sort of rise out of the noise level, because there is just so much out there," one intelligence official said.
Steve Benen: "In light of the attempted terrorism aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas, there are plenty of reasonable questions that deserve thorough answers. Why was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab able to get and keep a visa in 2008? To what extent to Abdulmutallab have terrorist associations? How dangerous were his materials, and how was he able to get them on the plane? And if you're Joe Lieberman, how soon can we go to war with Yemen?"

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