A Failed Anti-Terror Strategy – by Jamie Glazov


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).

FP: Robert Spencer, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

What do you see as the key lessons of the failed terror attempt on Northwest Flight 253?

Spencer: The chief lesson of the attempted jihad attack on Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day is that our entire anti-terror strategy is a huge and abject failure. Flight 253 revealed a massive failure not only of airline security procedures, but also of the larger strategy that America and the West has been pursuing against jihad terrorism.

As for airline security procedures, Abdulmutallab was able to get on the airplane without a passport, and with ingredients for an explosive that would have destroyed the plane and killed everyone in it.

TSA officials are busy tightening security procedures with new Abdulmutallab-inspired rules such as forcing passengers to stay in their seats for the last hour of the flight, but these new measures will do nothing to prevent another attack. One thing we have seen over the years since 9/11 is that airport security is always one step behind the jihadists: after jihadist Richard Reid attempted to set off a bomb hidden in his shoes, we all have to take off our shoes and send them through security scanners.

After a group of jihadists tried to sneak onto planes explosive chemicals hidden in drink bottles, we can’t carry drinks through airport security terminals. Because Abdulmutallab attempted his jihad attack just before the plane landed, now we can’t get up during the last hour of the flight.

The one thing that the TSA should have learned, but hasn’t, is that next time the jihadists will do something else, not just repeat what they did before. And even if every passenger were given a full body cavity search, they will find some way to get around it.

But attempt a new approach based on sensible profiling? The TSA would rather fold up shop altogether.

FP: Liberals love to portray Islamic terror (this is when they are forced to even admit it exists) as the result of American capitalism and imperialism and how it has subjected poor people into misery. But Abdul Mutallab doesn’t fall into this narrative very neatly. Maybe it has something to do with some stuff he was reading while he was enjoying material wealth, personal comfort and relaxation thanks to capitalism?

Spencer: They constantly ignore the possibility that the jihadis might not always be reacting to things America has done, but may hate us for reasons of their own, independent of our actions. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a classic recipient of Western largesse designed to win over the loyalties of Muslims – he was educated at the British International School in Lome, Togo. Yet contact with solicitous and friendly non-Muslim Westerners obviously did nothing to quell his jihadist fervor. And the son of a rich man (who notified American authorities about his jihadist sentiments, to no avail), Abdulmutallab once again proves false the idea that poverty causes terrorism. The myriad aid programs that are based on this false assumption have done nothing to stop or even slow jihad terrorism, and they never will.

Abdulmutallab was, in all likelihood, “radicalized” not by Western oppression but by the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. 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.

FP: Your thoughts on Obama and Napolitano in terms of how they are handling this this attempted terror attack?

Spencer: Napolitano’s initial statement that “the system worked” was incredible, and Obama’s slowness to respond and failure to break off his vacation inexcusable — as was his later reference to this apparent Al-Qaeda operative as an “isolated extremist.” Their abysmal failure to come to grips with the jihad doctrine has left us vulnerable to attacks from quarters they consider safe, as Abdulmutallab himself illustrates: as a rich man’s well educated son, he fits none of the conventional non-Islamic explanations for jihad violence that prevail among government and media analysts. He should be the cause of a wholesale reevaluation of our policies and procedures. But that isn’t going to happen.

FP: What we need is profiling, yes? And our culture won’t allow. Tell us the psychology here that leaves us tragically vulnerable.

Spencer: We have, as a culture, been sold a bill of goods by leftist ideologues who have convinced us that to make a realistic appraisal of the source of a threat and to react accordingly would constitute “racism” and “bigotry.”

Islamic terrorists are generally not grandmothers from middle America — why should everyone be subjected to increasingly annoying and futile airline security procedures when we know what group is committing these attacks, but just don’t want to admit it?

Profiling is flawed and will not be a perfect solution, as there is no common racial or any other characteristic that the jihadis share. But a sensibly educated TSA would be able to spot people who might constitute a greater risk, and respond accordingly.

Unfortunately, no matter how many young Muslim men blow things up or try to do so, we cannot even have this conversation as a nation, because the race wolf-criers have completely dominated the field.

FP: Concluding thoughts? What concerns you the most in what you see happening? What are the grave consequences if we don’t get it right?

Spencer: One thing is certain, Jamie: nothing we are doing now will make a recurrence of the Flight 253 incident any less likely. New security methods are needed, as are new strategies to combat the global jihad. But instead, we just keep reapplying the same old failed policies. And they will continue to fail, because of a continuing failure to evaluate realistically the situation we’re in.

FP: Robert Spencer, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

  • Robert Bernier

    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

  • 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

  • tlwinslow

    It's too bad that Pres. Obama still doesn't want to do his duty of protecting the American people by instituting Muslim Ideological Profiling (MIP) to detect signs of radicalization, but still wants to play games with their safety by limiting the profiling to country of origin. Sorry, but only radicalized Muslims are going to strap a bomb to their crotch and set it off hoping for Allah's paradise for murdering infidel non-Muslims, and even they rely on the plane being full of them.

    If MIP had been in place since 2000, there would have been no 9/11, Beltway Snipers, Ft. Hood Massacre, of Xmas Condom Bomber. What will it take, another horrible tragedy? Subjecting the 99% of non-Muslims to any kind of heightened security measures because of 1% of the 1% of Muslims is the true violation of civil rights. Islam isn't a race, and while it is only a religion for some, those who become radicalized cross the line into becoming dangerous political and military enemies of the U.S., and should be handled accordingly. It's not unconstitutional to profile only Muslims when it's the Muslim holy book that is the source of the radicalization. As the Supreme Court has already put it, the Constitution isn't a suicide pact. But the govt. must start protecting the American people now, that's its duty, and let the courts sort it out later, the good old American way. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to detect a radicalized Muslim, they give themselves away every time they open their mouths or post on the Internet.

    As the new decade dawns, why not take time to study the history of Islam from its radical beginnings in the 7th cent. when it began a violent offensive against the rest of the world and gave the West hell for over a thousand years until its military defeat in Vienna in 1683 that made the modern world possible. Study free online with the Historyscoper by clicking http://go.to/islamhistory

  • USMCSniper

    The three things that can motivate evil people to cease are reason, fear, and death. The first two will not work with Muslims unless the third is applied. Adapted by me from the movie “Swordfish”

    Anyone who impinges on America's freedom such as terrorist states and their proxies. Someone must bring their war to them. They bomb a church, we bomb 10 mosques. They hijack a plane, we take out one of their airports. They execute American tourist, we tactically nuke an entire muslim city. Our strategy should be to make the cost of jihadist terrorism so horrific that is becomes unthinkable to attack Americans because of the consequences.

  • thinker1

    They already did us on 9/11 and Mecca still there..If gov. is busy pushing lies about “ot earth”, Health miscarriage and working on Amnesty and NAU to screw all real Americans – what do you expect?
    They already see themselves as another Castro or Mao…

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    In any crime if you “follow the money” you'll find out who is behind it:


  • BS77

    I finally realized what Al Queda and the vermin from all such groups really are all about: Mass Murder. There is no religious or political end in sight…no, the means and the end are the same….what made me realize this: The vermin set off a horrific bombing at a volleyball match in Pakistan…..killing scores of children and young adults, wounding many for life, killing fellow Muslims makes no difference to these subhuman bugs, this scourge on planet Earth….Al Queda is nothing more than mass murder INC……in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan….the vermin are always doing the same thing: killing men women and children…they wish to destroy planes full of people, destroy trains, busses, schools, markets and volley ball matches…WHY? Because they are the most evil scum on earth and must be eliminated. They have no real political agenda for making this a better world.

  • bushlikesdick12

    Thank God that Obama is in charge and fixing all the leaks in Bush's anti-terrorism plan.

    If it wasn't for Obama's full attention in our security, we would have had very a serious attack by now.

    Obama has gone a year without a 9/11 incident where as Bush barely got 8 months in

  • mojobebop

    look to israel. they have a safe system. they employ highly intelligent, experienced profilers. this would seem to be a key factor.
    we will have to suffer another major tragedy, but sadly, this administration will characterize it as; “an isolated extremist”.

    i suppose, i am questioning the commander in chief's allegiance in the final analysis!

  • USMCSniper

    Hmmm… didn't the 19 terrorists in 9/11 plan, enter the US, and fget their flight training under the Clinton Adminstration according to records?
    Hmmm… let me see…

    Oct. 12, 2000 – A terrorist bomb damages the destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39.

    Aug. 7, 1998 – Terrorist bombs destroy the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Nairobi, 12 Americans are among the 291 killed, and over 5,000 are wounded, including 6 Americans. In Dar es Salaam, one U.S. citizen is wounded among the 10 killed and 77 injured.

    In response, on August 20 the United States attacked targets in Afghanistan and Sudan with over 75 cruise missiles fired from Navy ships in the Arabian and Red seas. About 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from warships in the Arabian Sea. Most struck six separate targets in a camp near Khost, Afghanistan. Simultaneously, about 20 cruise missiles were fired from U.S. ships in the Red Sea striking a factory in Khartoum, Sudan, which was suspected of producing components for making chemical weapons.

    June 21, 1998 – Rocket-propelled grenades explode near the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

    July 27, 1996 – A pipe bomb explodes during the Olympic games in Atlanta, killing one person and wounding 111.

    June 25, 1996 – A bomb aboard a fuel truck explodes outside a U.S. air force installation in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 U.S. military personnel are killed in the Khubar Towers housing facility, and 515 are wounded, including 240 Americans.

    Nov. 13, 1995 – A car-bomb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills seven people, five of them American military and civilian advisers for National Guard training. The “Tigers of the Gulf,” “Islamist Movement for Change,” and “Fighting Advocates of God” claim responsibility.

    April 19, 1995 – A car bomb destroys the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and wounding over 600.

    February 1993 – A bomb in a van explodes in the underground parking garage in New York's World Trade Center, killing six people and wounding 1,042.

  • mojobebop

    you are quite insipid.

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    They had help from guess who?

    “Guess who runs the security at Amsterdam Schipol airport? ICTS of course! the same Israeli owned security company that somehow managed to let the shoe bomber on his Miami flight in 2001 and several of those mythical hijackers who allegedly flew out of Boston's Logan airport on 9/11. It is also useful to remember that the shoe bomber was cleared through ICTS and El Al security at Amsterdam airport on a flight to Tel Aviv in July 2001 for what was apparently an all-expenses paid week-long trip to the Israeli city. What precisely he did there remains a mystery.”

    Explain that one, can you?

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    I suggest you read the post above…if the Israeli's are as adept at it as you think they are, then that would leave only an obvious conclusion to which Joe Quinn referred in an outtake above from his article on the subject.

    But yes, I agree, look to the Israeli security firms and start asking questions….

  • songdongnigh

    ICTS in Amsterdam has to be operating in accordance with Dutch law and regulations, not Israeli.

  • mojobebop

    sorry about the insult. i actually ment the comment in regard to another post.

  • SpiritOf1683

    And of course our resident troll Abdullard supports Islamic terrorism. He supports the murder of innocent Israelis, Americans and other infidels. He defends these terrorist actions with tu quoques, and will tell any lie in his brazen attempts to fool naive Westerners who didn't get Winston Churchill's or John Quincy Adams's education on Islam and its treachery. In his mind, the US had it coming on 9/11. He defends evil because he IS evil, just like the cult he follows. Nothing less. Not one word of condemnation of atrocities carried out in the name of Islam comes from him because he supports them, from the murder of schoolchildren in Beslan to office workers in New York and latte drinkers in a Tel Aviv coffee house and commuters in Madrid. These and another 14,600 plus atrocities since 9/11, not to mention many thousands before that date.

    He is the spokesman for evil and don't ever forget it. If he and his ilk get their way and ever make up even 25% or 30% of the population (as will happen to some countries – namely France sometime in the next 35 or 40 years – look at Lebanon, over 60% Christian only 50 years ago, now 70% Muslim – what a hideous reversal since 1960, and the intifada began once Muslims made up around 40% of the population of that country), your wives and daughters will be walking around in hideous burkas and beaten to a pulp by Mutaween-minded crazies if they refuse to wear them. Pubs, clubs and nightspots would cease to exist. Alcohol forbidden. We would live in a joyless dystopian world. That is the Abdullard vision for the West. And anyone who objects will be killed.

  • Serendipita

    Excellent interview w/ Dr. Spencer. The December 25th foiled attack was a huge wake up call to the abject failures of our intelligence and security departments. But at the conclusion of the interview the fundamental problem is clear: US intelligence and security depts are deceiving themselves about what we're facing here and, thus, are unable to fix it. Just shocking that when the Christmas Day incident occurred, our chief official of DHS said the system worked. Maybe her words were taken out of context as she says, but why was she not addressing the incident itself and not its aftermath??!! How can we have confidence in a DHS chief who is not accurately focused at the time of a major crisis?? And to see the same intelligence failure-to- communicate just as was the case pre-9/11– over 8 yrears ago — is very disturbing. We need people sharper than those who are in these positions of power. They must show us the improvements they've made to the system or face losing their jobs.

  • Raymond in DC

    Right. Even the Israeli put in charge of security at Boston's Logan Airport after 9/11 is only allowed to do so much. (The planes that struck the World Trade Center towers took off from Logan.) R

    ight now there's a dispute in South Africa involving El Al procedures and the diplomatic cover provided to its screeners overseas. If they can't resolve the matter not only will El Al be pulling out of the country, but there will be no more direct flights from South Africa to Israel.

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    My advice is stop running around with your skirt hiked up squealing “The sky is falling!”

    Then get an education that doesn’t start with Indoctrination 101…

  • SpiritOf1683

    At least my education doesn't involve lessons on how to saw off infidel heads and beat up women eh retarded savage. You are scum pure and simple. You support the murder of infidels because you're a racist and bigoted savage. And trash like you should be kicked out of the West, along with your four wives or should I say punchbags and 20 children, er I mean future homicide bombers.

  • SpiritOf1683

    The foiled attack should have been a wakeup call, but we've seen 15,600 terrorist atrocities since 9/11 which should also have been wakeup calls, but almost nine years on, we're still comatose to the dangers of Muslim terrorism.

  • SpiritOf1683

    I should have said 14,600 terrorist atrocities since 9/11. But then given the brutality, bestiality and savagery of Islam, the 15,600 atrocities mark will be reached sometime around July. And that isn't all of them. You can bet the real figure is 3 or 4 times higher since 9/11.

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    You are a media intoxicated idiot.

    What you know about what Islam teaches wouldn’t fill a thimble.

    You will go the same way other bigots and xenophobes like you went, right into the trash bin of history.

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    No need to apologize, I understand.

  • SpiritOf1683

    It is you who is the piece of terrorist supporting s**t. You salivate over atrocities like 9/11. I know enough about Islam to know it is a wicked misogynistic cold blooded mass murdering death cult with infidel-hating lying barbarians for followers. After all your paedophile prophet was a wicked mass murdering thief, liar and sadist. Your hateful book calls for our murders and Muslims have spent 1,400 years following it to the letter, hence the mass slaughter of infidels and destruction of countless civilizations at the hands of Muslims over those centuries. Scum like you should be in Gitmo. Your wicked organisation CAIR is a terrorist front. It is trying to impose Sharia upon us and harrasses apostates like Rifqa Bari. It needs banning and its followers booting out of the US and back to Saudi Arabia where they and you belong.

  • SpiritOf1683

    CAIR for starters. And bugging the mosques.

  • SpiritOf1683

    Abdullard doesn't want the US to follow Israel's lead. He wants it to be made easier to carry out more 9/11s.

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    These insane projections are from you, your sick mind, you are a media intoxicated idiot.

  • SpiritOf1683

    They're from everything you write. You support terrorists. You are nothing more than a vile, racist and filthy infidel hating bigot and savage who wants to see us enslaved. But it isn't going to happen because despite PC and the obfuscations of CAIR many of us do see straight through you, and we will take action in the nick of time. Hell, it takes the entire organisation of CAIR and its team of greedy and prejudiced lawyers to take on Rifqa Bary, eh barbarian.

  • LindaRivera

    It is clear Washington have no problem with Muslim terror attacks and are committed to NOT protecting the public. With the full knowledge that almost ALL terror attacks are committed by Muslims, Washington is vehemently opposed to profiling Muslims.

  • Abdullah_Mikail

    You are writing them, idiot.

  • SpiritOf1683

    Come on terrorist, you can do better than that. How's the wives black eyes getting on? Have the kids tried on any mock suicide vests for size yet? And how's your hate campaign against Rifqa Bary going on?

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