Dear Secretary Napolitano Can You Tell Me How The System Worked?

28/12/2009 – Dear Secretary Napolitano Can You Tell Me How The System Worked?

In the wake of the Christmas Day terrorist attempted on Delta Air Lines Flight 253 (NW253), operated by Northwest Airlines by Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab I have been closely watching the statements by Secretary Janet Napolitano of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Secretary Napolitano has repeatedly stated that “the system worked” and that the attack was foiled. For me this is not about politics, this is about logic and security…selfishly my security when I get on a plane.

Outside of media sound bites and quick interviews to reassure the travelling public, the system did not work. I am not sure in what dimension a passenger boarding a plane with an incendiary and attempting to detonate that incendiary device constitutes the system working. In fact lets explore some facts of the events surrounding Abdulmutallab boarding NW253 to see if we can find out where the system worked

– Fact: Abdulmutallab’s name was on a broad terrorism watch yet held a two-year visa for travel to the United States.

– Fact: Abdulmutallab was denied entry to the United Kingdom in May after requesting a six month visa to a non-existant college

– Fact: Abdulmutallab’s father, Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, a prominent banker, visited the United States Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, in November 2009, to express his concern that his son might carry out a terrorist action against the United States

– Fact: Abdulmutallab boarded Flight KL 588 on Dec 24th with an incendiary device in Lagos, Nigeria

– Fact: Abdulmutallab boarded Flight NW 253 on Dec 25th with an incendiary device in Amsterdam, Netherlands

– Fact: There was no Federal Air Marshal on board NW253

So with the basic undisputed facts in front of me I have to seriously wonder in what way Secretary Napolitano believes the system worked?

Did the system work because passengers rose up and dealt with Abdulmutallab?

Did the system work because the incendiary device failed?

Did the system work because NW253 landed safely?

My questions regarding Secretary Napolitano’s view that the system worked will probably never be answered, however every time I watch her be interviewed for the past few days I have to wonder what she is thinking dolling out the company line than the system is working.

How many red-flags does one need to get secondary screening? How many red-flags does one need to be placed on a no-fly list?

I’d think that being on a terrorist watch list; applying for a bogus Visa to the UK; and your father walking into

the US Embassy and telling them that his son may carry out a terrorist attack on the US should all be red-flags…but what do I know…The System Worked

Happy Flying!


  1. Sigh….

    I just love security theatre /sarcasm off

    I have been wondering how the system worked….it didn’t because no one can be prepared for the unknown.

    As secure as flying has become, it still revolves around people making bad or no decisions.

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