ntelligence about terror threats rarely comes on such a silver platter: A Nigerian banker went to the U.S. Embassy in Lagos to warn that his son had fallen under “the influence of religious extremists based in Yemen” and was a security risk. This came after months of U.S. intelligence intercepts about al Qaeda plans for an attack using a Nigerian man. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab paid for his ticket with cash and didn’t check any luggage.
Yet a headline in the Washington Post summed up the current state of our intelligence: “Uninvestigated Terrorism Warning About Detroit Suspect Called Not Unusual.”
President Obama promises to investigate what went wrong, but there’s no big mystery. He should simply review testimony put in the public record in early December, before the Christmas Day incident. Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Homeland Security Committee heard an explanation of how U.S. intelligence agencies decide when to put suspected terrorists on a watch list or a no-fly list.