Flight 253 and Counterterror’s Epic Fail – by Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We're In, is now available.


alg_flight-253_terrorist

An attempted jihad attack on Christmas Day has revealed that Americans are much more vulnerable to such attacks than most have believed – while government officials whistle in the dark. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old son of a wealthy Nigerian banker, tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 just before it landed in Detroit. In response, Barack Obama chose not to cut short his golfing vacation in Hawaii; the White House announced that he would “likely” have something to say about this latest attempted jihad attack on U.S. soil “in the next few days.” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was ebullient, maintaining that “the system worked” and “everything happened that should have.”

Unless the “system” consisted of relying on passengers to tackle jihadists (as Jasper Schuringa, the Dutch passenger on Flight 253, subdued Abdulmutallab), and trusting that jihadis’ detonators will malfunction (as did Abdulmutallab’s), Napolitano’s statement couldn’t possibly be farther from the truth. In reality, nothing worked. Nothing at all, both in terms of security procedures for individual air passengers, and in terms of the larger strategy for dealing with jihad terrorism.

All the stupid and humiliating airport security procedures, all the little baggies for toothpaste and shampoo, all the padding through the security scanner in stocking feet, didn’t work. Abdulmutallab was able to board the plane with the makings of a bomb that would have destroyed the aircraft and killed everyone in it. The Transportation Security Administration has scrambled since Christmas Day to stiffen security procedures, but its effort is foredoomed: jihadis study these procedures carefully, always searching for ways to circumvent them. And such ways exist, even if every passenger were subjected to a full body cavity search – bomb ingredients can be separated and combined mid-flight, or spirited onboard in ways as yet unimagined by the most visionary TSA official.

Abdulmutallib was also on a terror watch list, although that fact, and the fact that he had been known to anti-terror officials for several years, did not prevent him from boarding Flight 253 – showing that such lists and even official scrutiny are as useless as taking off your shoes in the airport security line. What’s more, the jihadi’s father warned American officials about his son, who was being watched already. And still nothing was done to keep him from boarding the plane.

Abdulmutallab likewise demonstrates the failure of long-term anti-terror strategies. Educated at the British International School in Lome, Togo, he was a classic recipient of Western largesse designed to win over the loyalties of Muslims. Yet his encounter with kindly non-Muslim Westerners spending their lives to educate him and his peers did not blunt the fervor of his jihadist fanaticism. And as a rich man’s son, he once again gives the lie to the firmly and widely held assumption that poverty causes terrorism. All the aid programs based on the assumption that poverty does cause terrorism and that money for schools and roads and hospitals would win over Muslim hearts and minds have not worked, and will not work.

All the concerted efforts by the State Department and DHS to ignore the jihad doctrine and reach out to people they deemed to be “moderate Muslims” have likewise not worked. According to the Nigerian newspaper This Day, when Abdulmutallab was at the British International School, “he was known for preaching about Islam to his schoolmates and he was popularly called ‘Alfa,’ a local coinage for Islamic scholar.” This illustrates yet again that, contrary to the popular view, Islamic jihadists present themselves among their fellow Muslims as the exponents of authentic Islam, making their case from the Qur’an and Sunnah — and those Muslims who oppose jihadist violence and Islamic supremacism have never successfully refuted their arguments. Outreach to moderate Muslims has not aided in this effort, and has deceived the general public into thinking that the influence of peaceful Muslims over jihadists is much larger than it actually is.

As far as the DHS and Janet Napolitano are concerned, the Flight 253 incident is a massive and unmitigated disaster, showing the complete and abject failure of their anti-terror policies across the board. The Flight 253 attempted jihad attack shows that the American response to jihad terrorism has failed not just in one detail or a single area. Rather, the failure is massive, comprehensive, all-encompassing. The anti-terror approach adopted since 9/11 is not working, and is never going to work. Until it is scrapped, there will be many, many more incidents like the one on Flight 253. But rather than have the decency to admit the truth, the DHS chief is putting on a brave face and pretending that up is down and down is up. And the President keeps golfing.

Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of ten books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, is available now from Regnery Publishing, and he is coauthor (with Pamela Geller) of the forthcoming book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (Simon and Schuster).

  • annbarlone
  • darrensmiths
  • xrayspecs

    The only (proven) way forward is to slowly remove the Politically Correct approach where claims of violating human (political/religious) rights are theoretically trampled and begin with what all the Liberals hate) RACIAL PROFILING. It is no sin to single out potential “perps” based on 3 main criteria:
    1) Young males between the ages of 18-40
    2) Young males who are Islamic or from Islamic countries
    3) Young males who (yes, even that) “look” Muslim or somehow threatening.

    History shows that in MOST cases, this is the correct threat profile. Of course the Israeli experience is that they (the terrorists) will stop at nothing even using pregnant, Caucasian, blond, pregnant women as unknowing bomb carriers.Thi has to be taken into account as well.

    Anything short of racial profiling will continue to endanger most air travelers EVEN THOUGH this is a sensitive issue, it works.

    There is no way around it. Racial profiling is indeed a bad scenario BUT if it can guarantee the lives of millions of air travelers throughout th year, maybe the time has come for this system.

  • Robert Bernier

    Every American should see this video !

    The ambition of Islam to conquer the world.
    For centuries Islam of the militants have been on the march to conquer the world. We did not notice because we chose not to notice. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in
    1920 by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt and was in deep confrontation with the Egyptian government. The current goals for Islam to achieve global domination for a Muslim Caliphate: a world under strict Islamic “Sharia” law, pulling Muslims back to the 7th Century. Consult : http://xrl.us/bf66jj

  • Robert Bernier

    Wow! Read this one. It is really good. And this gentleman says it just like it is.

    This venerable and much honored WW II vet is well known in Hawaii
    for his seventy-plus years of service to patriotic organizations and causes all over the country. A humble man without a political bone in his body, he has never spoken out before about a government official, until now. He dictated this letter to a friend, signed it and mailed it to the president. Consult : http://xrl.us/bgeewc

  • indianahoser

    The liberals and their PC BS is going to get us all killed.

  • xyz

    The only reaction from our elite rulers is to put “us” through more crap. Get this joker out of office please. Have we really got three more years of this joke for as president? America wasnted to get even for Bush. Problem is it's Ameerica being punished.

  • Gamal

    Even George Orwell couldn't imagine Napolitano calling this a success. She should be fired immediately along with Obama and his administration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jbtrevor Julie Trevor

    Mr. Spencer, Julie here (longtime fan of your work). Another great piece that accurately details what's wrong.
    I would encourage you to detail what works in your pieces (i.e.many of the counter-terrorism policies of Israel); lest your readers are left feeling hopeless.

    I consider myself quite well informed on this matter however I listened to an Israeli official's critique yesterday and was saddened by how feckless our security measures really are…

  • Adheeb

    The problem with Islam are the teachings of Islam… you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. The solution to this problem is to “round 'em up and move 'em out”.

  • 2maxpower

    there are no winners or losers with this bunch of clowns in the white house.

    ..with the exception of the public.

    but then what does one expect from lying dishonest people.

  • winoceros

    The only thing that will cut down the possibilities (because of subterfuge, not eliminate) would be to subject any Muslim flyer to extreme security protocols, (full body scans, and the like). No one will like that “profiling” method, and so nothing will be done.

    In our hurry to be “egalitarian”, everyone will have to go through the intense security, raising prices, driving down air travel, and wasting productivity. Al Qaeda could have sent a guy to light a cigar while hollering “Allahu Akbar” and the same terror means would have been achieved. Keep the infidels on their toes and make life difficult and expensive for them. The dead people on a plane or on the ground is just a bonus.

    Well, this isn't France, and “egalite” is not an American value. “Liberte” is. It's time the scrutiny were on the group that makes it difficult for the most Americans to enjoy their “liberte”, non?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Roth/1065726286 Eric Roth

    Depressing, illuminating, and persuasive.

    It's time for a new DHS leader, and for Obama to admit that we are fighting Islamic jihadists. We also need an explicit ideological battle with jihadists just as we confronted and defeated British imperialism, Nazi fascism, and Soviet communism.

    As the old cliche goes, if you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything. And President Obama is failing to stand up for classic western enlightenment and American ideals.

  • http://www.compellingconversations.com Eric the sceptic

    Absolutely!

  • oldwhiteguy

    and the insanity continues.

  • josephwiess

    Under this administration, we have been told that we shouldn't jump to conclusions when people try to kill us while screaming, “Allah a akbar.” Until our president wakes up from his “The Muslim's are our friends,” dream, we are wide open for any attack they wish to carry out.

    As much as I hate violence, maybe it's time to stop this nonsense once and for all. Two nukes will end this, much as they did for world war II. Our two targets should be Mecca and Medina, plus a smaller tactical nuke down Aminidinawhackjobs well.

  • Steve Chavez

    TO SAMOOO,

    THE VOLCANO IS ABOUT TO BLOW!!!

  • samciccarello

    Robert, I am reading your book “The Infidel's Guide to Islam,” and made a mental not of the mysterious significance in Islam attached to the number 19. Then I heard this morining that the seat occupied by the terrorist was 19A. This is thought to be a strategic choice due to its location, but what about the possible significance of the number 19?

  • thinker1

    Janet Incompitano said: “The system worked”.
    She must be insane…..to make things worse, if there wasn't a dutchman, thesubduing might never occur….imams succesfully scared off potential “opponents”.
    And our MSM do not call him a muslim jihadist.

    TIME TO WAKE UP, WASHINGTON!

  • thinker1

    To care about you/me???
    He said he's a muslem – first to Charlie Gibson on TV Chnl 7, then, better, here:

    http://xrl.us/bf29mb

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Gardner/1627315746 Mike Gardner

    Is any highly-placed political figure in America going to read such articles and awaken to the incorrigibility of political Islam? When are we going to separate religious Islam from political Islam in our cultural categorization and treat the former as a First Amendment issue and the latter as sedition? I know the Muslims don't make the distinction — what I'm advocating is that we make the distinction, and find meaningful ways to enforce it in the West.

  • thinker1

    YES, Janet!!! “The system worked”!!!! – for jihadists. You cannot even pronounce that word. J-I-H-A-D-I-S-T-S-!!!
    We are doomed until dangerous loonies like you are locked up.

  • LindaRivera

    Why was he not placed on a U.S. No Fly List? That’s not hard to figure out. Washington do not regard Muslim terrorists as the enemy. Patriotic, peaceful Americans – pro-lifers, tea party attendees, returning war veterans who risked their lives for America have been listed as the ones to watch out for.

    U.S. Muslim terrorist training camps that teach murder of non-Muslims and violent Islamic conquest of America are allowed. God help America.

    worldnetdaily.com
    ‘Chilling’ new video: How to slit throats
    Jihad maneuvers taught at New York compound
    December 15, 2009

    By Bob Unruh
    © 2009 WorldNetDaily

    A new video released by the Christian Action Network shows Muslim women at a compound in New York state practicing throat-slitting techniques and assault weapons attacks.

    The video was distributed by the makers of the movie “Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around the U.S.,” which documents how a jihadist group has developed dozens of training camps across the nation.

    WND reported at the time how Jamaat ul-Fuqra has built 35 compounds – mostly in the northeastern corridor of the U.S.

    …The U.S. State Department’s 1998 “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report notes the organization “seeks to purify Islam through violence.”

    The report continued, “Members have purchased isolated rural compounds in North America to live communally, practice their faith and insulate themselves from Western culture. Fuqra members have attacked a variety of targets that they view as enemies of Islam.”

    CAN, led by Martin Mawyer, has researched Muslims of America for years and has provided its video to the FBI, State Department and Homeland Security. To date, there has been no response from the government, the group said.

    …”Gilani has stated he is preparing his members to the Soldiers of Allah, and he’s set up the most advanced guerrilla warfare training camps,” he said.

    The organization’s “Homegrown Jihad” video includes a chilling scene of Jamaat ul-Fuqra’s leader Sheikh Mubarak Gilani telling followers to “act like you’re his friend. Then kill him.”

    According to the Religion of Peace website, there have been more than 250 jihad attacks by Muslims around the globe – including two inside the U.S. – in just the last two months.The death toll from the attacks has surpassed 1,400, the report says.
    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageI

    New MOA Terror Training Video Exposed
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebg6AFylios&feat

  • SpiritOf1683

    It should be ALL Muslims, whether male or female, or 5 years old or 100 years old. We have seen 64 year old Muslimah shaheeds. And Islam isn't a race. It is a hideous belief system that believes we should be murdered or enslavesd simply because we're not Muslims, and it has been that way for 1,400 years, and always will, because Islam itself will never reform. If anything, it is becoming even more intolerant and sadistic with more and more Muslims believing they'll go to Paradise if they murder us in cold blood.

  • SpiritOf1683

    The significance of Seat 19A? It seems as if that seat was closest to the fuel tanks.

  • thinker1

    Why Israelis have no plane bombings? They profile – every look-like a terrorist is strip-searched. Don't like it? You don't fly.

  • LindaRivera

    America Betrayed: Jihadists are winning because of pro-Islam Western leaders. U.S. Airport Security Deliberately and Shockingly Destroyed for Islam:

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com
    Controversial Muslim group
    gets VIP airport security tour
    Feds show CAIR latest screening steps,
    sensitive counterterrorism procedures
    August 18, 2006

    The Department of Homeland Security
    took a Muslim group with known past ties to terror organizations on a VIP tour of security operations at the nation's busiest airport at the same time British authorities were working to break up a plot to blow up U.S. airlines.

    On June 21, a senior DHS official from Washington personally guided Muslim officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations on a behind-the-scenes tour of Customs screening operations at O'Hare International Airport in response to CAIR complaints that Muslim travelers were being unfairly delayed as they entered the U.S. from abroad.

    CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association for Palestine, identified by two former FBI counterterrorism chiefs as a “front group” for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

    Several CAIR leaders have been convicted on terror-related charges.

    During the airport tour, CAIR was taken on a walk through the point-of-entry, Customs stations, secondary screening and interview rooms. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents were asked to describe for CAIR representatives various features of the high-risk passenger lookout system.
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?A

  • LindaRivera

    Racial profiling should be all ages, both sexes.

    One talkbacker commented: “Discriminate or Die”. We have no other choice.

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/

  • posse101

    don't worry America our leader will comment on this when he returns from his golf vacation in Hawaii.

  • EamonnDublin

    The Religion of Peace strikes again. What a shower of evil excuses for human beings. Éamonn, Dublin, Ireland.

  • williamspillane

    Robert Spencer is correct, but too few people know about him and his work. The challenge, for me and others who believe he is right, is to force the media and clear thinking politicians to address his research. However, when I tell people about him and his writings, they understandably ask, “Well, what is Spencer's solution.”
    While I believe I know what his solution is, Robert should append his answer to everything he writes, in my opinion.

  • abdullah

    As i said before we should make judgement about islam from reliable scholars and their consesus .Indeed, issuing a fatwa or decision is based on certain qualifications
    Certainly there are qualifications and conditions which the person must fulfill before allowing himself or herself to issue fatwas. Those qualifications may be summarized into the following:

    1. Mastering the science of principles of jurisprudence,

    2) Mastering the science of Hadith,

    3) Mastering the science of Maqasid ash-Shari`ah (Objectives of Shari`ah),

    4) Mastering legal maxims,

    5) Mastering the science of comparative religions,

    6) Mastering the foundations of social sciences,

    7) Knowing Arabic, and

    8) Having sufficient knowledge of social realities.Moreover, Quran verses should not be quotted out of context nor ignoring the circumstances of revelation.It is worthy to mention that a judge should not have a prejudices against the other and not be in the center.
    It is unacceptable to terrorize civilians and to menace their security or destroy their properties.Those who engage in this crime should be punished.
    This person represents him self not the opinion of leaders, decision makers and the mass folk who denounce terrorism and the killing of innocents.I am an ordinary muslim how come i will hold responsible for others crime.We do not have the same prints even siblings do not have the same ideas and personality.It happens that in one family u can have two brothers.While the first is good, the second is bad.Therefore, whom to bring to trial.

    i read many verses in the bible that speak about violance.but who they refer to.A specialist in this field is the one who is able to interpret the meaning and circumstances behind them .No else is eligible to do so
    for example
    In Samuel 15:2-3
    In Exodus 15:3,
    In Luke 19:22-27

    Pls look at CONVENTION

    OF THE ORGANISATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE

    ON COMBATING INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM
    http://www.oic-oci.org/english/convenion/terror

  • Egartla

    In reading of this incident and doing so on the internet and world and local news the one thing that is surprising is that NO ONE asks if profiling would have been effective with a nigerian with a muslim name. I am certain it would have raised the interest in this fellow.

  • garyfouse

    How does anyone, let alone a Nigerian, show up for a one-way trans-Atlantic flight, pay cash for the ticket and check no luggage? Forget about terror. In such a scenario, every Customs and drug agent from Lagos to Amsterdam to Detroit should have been all over this guy. Talk about fitting profiles!!

    Can we please get somebody into this job who is competent-before it is too late?

  • Gamal

    Napolitano is right the system worked, a man with a bumper sticker that said Don't Tread on Me was stopped on the highway by police.

  • josephwiess

    Deity in Heaven, what prompted the DHS to walk terrorists through the screening process? I think DHS and TSA should be shut down, cleaned out, and re-opened under new management. Nobody with terrorist ties should ever get a security tour.

    Un-freakin-believable.

  • Sidney Kulick

    I have two hip replacements both of titanium. More then once they passed successfully through the scanner. I informed the security personal but whether anything was done I have no idea.

  • Lary9

    This is what Robert Spencer taught this long-suffering leftie. I paraphrase:

    Admittedly there are practicing Muslims that can in good faith claim Islam to be a peaceful religion but only if they:
    a) have not read the Koran or
    b) consciously reject the surrahs of the sword in the Koran or
    c) are comfortable editing the violent jihadism out of the Koran (like some Christians cherry-pick the Bible to suit themseives).
    d) are engaged actively in “taquiyya” which is intentionally lying and/or misleading to promote Islam.
    There is no such thing as peaceful Islam. No such religious variant based in the Koran exists.

    Thanks, Robert.Clearly a paradigm shift in the degree of our earnestness about 'homeland' and 'security' is overdue.

  • tlwinslow

    Islam isn't a race. It's too bad that the U.S. govt. doesn't do like the Israeli govt. and do ideological profiling,scrutinizing all Muslims for signs of radicalization. Instead, they mix it up with racial profiling and don't do it at all, and make all passengers go through more degrading hoops that actually make it easier for radical terrorists to get through the PETN through their cracks.

    http://go.to/islamhistory

  • Myrrh

    perhaps the jihadists should consider that allah prevented the bomb from going off?

  • Cabby – AZ

    Thank you, Robert Spencer, for enlightening us to the reality that exists when it
    comes to jihadist fervor and why they are so dedicated to a belief system that
    has its roots firmly in the Koran. How true so many Americans and others around
    the world always seem to place the blame elsewhere, e.g., poverty, so-called
    American imperialism, and on and on. That is why the so-called moderate Muslims
    find it very hard to hold their own against the beliefs of the jihadists. They would
    have to overlook the doctrines of the Koran itself. We cannot continue to kid
    ourselves. The jihadists want to kill us.

  • Len Powder

    We needed a special commissiion to determine why 911 happened when all we needed to do was to pay attention to the warnings and threats from the jihadists themselves. Terrorism was rampant throughout the entire world but we deceived ourselves into believing it coul not possibly strike us at home. Well, it did, and will continue to until a Special Commission figures out why the murders in Ft. Hood occurred and how this Nigerian was able to obtain a 2-year revolving tourist visa and get through airport 'security' in Amsterdam. Somewhere in all of this our true enemy is hidden – politcal correctness and multiculturalism. They are the elephant in the room that nobody wants to notice.

  • Len Powder

    Welcome Cabby. Those of us who understood the threat Islam has posed since Mohammed founded this barbaric cult are glad you have joined us.

  • Len Powder

    That's exactly what they believe. EVERYTHING that happens – or NOT – is according to Allah's will. Islamists don't try to comprehend or apply logic. When it comes to Allah they submit and accept, regardless of what happens. It's called absolute fatalism.

  • Len Powder

    We are lucky because the outcome not only spared 279 lives but is forcing us to examine the inept policies of the government. Had the plot succeeded, not only would it have been a horrible tragedy, but the investigation into the causes would have taken months, if not years, and quite possibly we would never know the cause of the disaster.

  • Len Powder

    Geert Wilders said “There are moderate Muslims, but there is NO moderate Islam.”

  • abdullah

    it’s very disgusting to see some people – who are Muslims by name– launching aggression against innocent people and taking them as scapegoats for any disagreement they have with the state’s authority!! What is the crime of the common people then?! Murder is one of heinous crimes completely abhorred in Islam, to the extent that some Muslim scholars hold the opinion that the repentance of the murderer will not be accepted by Allah, Most High. In this context, we recall the Glorious Qur'anic verse that reads, (…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole peoplee.) (Al-Ma'idah 5: 32)
    Have u ever visited an Arab Muslim country .How u were treated.

    Arabs are extremely friendly and hospitable, . It's not uncommon to get invited to dinner upon meeting and chatting with a person for ten minutes.u met people on trains, in restaurants, and even in the street who give u their phone numbers and insist that u visit them for dinner.

    Ask tourists who visit these countries to tell you how muslims are generous and how and they respect other beliefs and harbor no hatred.
    Have u ever gone to Tunisia, Egypt, lebanon, jordan,turkey, Morocco ,Kuwait ,Emirates and so on.
    Many local, national and international festivals are organized each year They cover all the artistic domains such as cinema and music.Moreover, non muslim residents are given privileges and rights that they do not have in other countries.
    Muslims have family to raise, they have a job to do,children to educate,young spend their time either studying , dating or following fashion and warching soccers.Those who are religiously commited are peaceful..Old people some of them spend their time in chatting or praying or watching tv.Women either they work out side, cook; chat , read or watch tv.Do u think these people are terrorists .Their concern is to secure their material lives.Moreover, some of these people have families in USA and Europe.who live there to achieve self dependence and to help their family.These immigrants are doctors, clerks, bussines men and so on.They have married Americans and have children with.How come these people support terrorists

    How about new converts who are Americans .Do they use taqiya too.

    For those who engage in this crime and terrorzing other.What educational level do they have.Have ever listened to reliable scholars.Do their government suport them.We do not like what they do because they damage islam reputation though they represent themselves..

  • thinker1

    We are thrown under a bus….”they” are pro-muslims…PROOF:
    Our general says about Fort Hood killings;
    ““Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Casey said. – better dead American than offended muslim????
    Our presssidento says:
    http://xrl.us/bf29mb

  • Len Powder

    We need someone to put a bullet into diversity. That will enhance our security considerably!

  • Len Powder

    As the saying goes “If the shoe fits, wear it!” We are not concerned about friendly Muslims who treat us with respect and live peaceful lives. We are concerned with those who quote the Kuran and say that according to its commandments they must wage jihad against all infidels. Tell us how to fight and terminate these Muslims if you want to help.