Homeland Security Fails with Airplane Bomber

I think it’s high time we get mad as hell and let the Department of Homeland Security know we are not going to take it anymore.

As everyone now knows, on Christmas Day, another extremist (by his own admission) attempted to blow up an international flight between Amsterdam and Detroit.  This event will spark outrage by Congress and result in all the inevitable hearings.  We are so great at being reactive but can’t seem to be proactive in heading off threats until after they have occurred.

One thing is painfully clear to me:

The homeland security system is not working and it was only because of an unlikely failure in a bomb ignition device that hundreds of innocent people were not killed.

This incident was so avoidable. The father of the young man went to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria to report that his son is a threat. His son’s name doesn’t find its way on to the “no-fly” list allegedly because the threat was not specific enough.  Are you kidding me.? This is a problem.

The Associated Press reports this morning that Janet Napolitano says “the system worked.”  Excuse me?  How does she arrive at that conclusion?  Here’s the official position of the White House as reported in the Associated Press:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says investigators are looking at the system for placing potential terrorists on travel security lists to see if procedures were properly followed and what can be done to make them more effective.

What is it about politicians who just avoided a horrific calamity that makes them make statements like this?

Just say it:  The system failed and failed big time.  People failed to execute their jobs properly.  Those who are responsible for designing and implementing this business process will be immediately terminated from their jobs.

And, get ready:  You’re going to hear the U.S. Embassies are run by the State Department whereas the Department of Homeland Security is a separate department and that fact alone  means that the system can’t be lean and agile.  Really?  Do we have to accept this?  Or, does our command and control mechanism build firewalls around these 2 functions that preclude timely and effective collaboration between these groups?  If you’ve got a “.gov” email address, there should be no barrier to collaboration.

I’m also not in favor of political correctness.

Those of us who travel extensively know that even when you see something suspicious, those who are responsible for protecting us are hesitant to investigate suspicious behavior to avoid charges of  “profiling.”  This is obscene.  It’s not 80-year old white women and 5-year old kids who have a history of blowing up planes.  More profiling and less political correctness could go a long way in protecting us.

Back when the shoe bomber tried to bring down a plane, I joked that it was a good thing that he used his shoes and hadn’t stuffed something in his underware.  Otherwise, we would have to remove more than just our shoes as we went through airport security.  Well, guess what–this latest guy just stuffed his underwear.  I hate to think of what the implications will be for us.

It perturbs me to no end that the failure of those charged with protecting us will now cause great inconvenience to the millions of travelers who aren’t breaking the law and trying to bring down aircraft.  All this because the current system that could have prevented this failed.   Will it make us safer?  No.  But, it will certainly create the illusion that we are safer.

The Department of Homeland Security needs to come to grips with the notion that things are not going well for them.  This department owns the Secret Service–the agency that allowed 2 reality TV wannabees to have full access to the President of the United States, the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, etc., at the recent state dinner.  If this latest execution failure is not further indication of the need for a wake-up call, then I don’t what is.

What do you think?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting



One Response to Homeland Security Fails with Airplane Bomber

  1. Chad Barr says:

    I believe the solution is proper screening or ethnic profiling. Good video today on the Wall Street Journal site (Registration required) that discuss the success of such strategy with Israel airport security.



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