Flight 253: Tragedy Averted, For Now

Written by  //  December 29, 2009  //  Money News, Travel Tips  //  3 Comments

Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, claims that the "system worked" following the Christmas Day near-bombing of a Detroit bound airliner.


Travelers who frequent the airlines have every reason to be concerned that the federal government is not doing everything possible to avert another terrorist attack. Likely, you have been following the news whereby a Nigerian national traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit nearly blew up Northwest Airlines flight #253 on Christmas Day, who was thwarted in his attempt thanks to the quick reaction of passengers who subdued him.

Shoe Bomber Reprise

Reminding everyone of the December 2001 shoe bomber incident where a radicalized Islamist Richard Reid nearly blew up American Airlines flight #63 traveling from Paris to Miami, the Christmas near bombing demonstrated just how porous the global security network is.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is the latest of a long list of Islamic militants whose names are forever being included with suicide bombers, jihadists, airline terrorists, and other assorted unsavory characters. What we know of Abdulmutallab right now is not complete, though journalists have discovered that his name was on at least one watch list, that Umar’s own father warned the US embassy in Lagos, Nigeria in November that he suspected his son had ties with Al Qaeda, and that Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano believes that the Christmas Day incident is not part of a greater plot.

The System Worked?!

Napolitano’s statement and her belief that the “system worked” on Christmas Day should give the traveling public pause before they book their next flight, especially to and from an international destination. (see The American Spectator: Anti-Anti-Terrorism)

The Obama administration no longer uses the watch phrase “war on terror” coined by the Bush administration, but the fact remains that the US is embroiled in a global terrorist battle and we are one of its chief targets. Since the president’s team seeks to reset America’s foreign policy and make friends with our enemies, terrorists perceive such outreaches as a sign of weakness.

And, with Abdulmutallab having in his possession pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), an explosive agent which would have brought down the aircraft if successfully ignited, our enemies will go to whatever lengths they can to fight us. (see The Foundry: Morning Bell: The System Failed)

So why are we trying to make peace with them?

Restrictions On Travel

Airline passengers can expect several inconveniences going forward thanks to the federal government’s misplaced reaction to the near bombing. Longer lines at security checkpoints as well as less freedom to move around while in flight are among the restrictions carried out immediately.

Expect more rigorous body searches and screenings and being restricted to your seat for the last hour of your flight. That latter rule will likely scares people with weak bladders from flying as there is nothing worse than having to take care of your personal needs and being forbidden from using the lavatory.

Adv. – With international security levels elevated, will you be changing your travel plans in the months ahead? Visit SayFunTravel.com for travel information including discounts on rental cars, hotel stays, vacation packages, cruises and, yes, airline fares. Travel smartly and safely in 2010!

Photo Credit: United States Department of Homeland Security

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