Jonah Goldberg is right, any head of the Department of Homeland (In-)Security who can cite Northwest Flight 253 as an example of the system having “worked” should be fired immediately, as should also be the case of the idiot who appointed her to that position in the first place. Lest anyone accuse me of taking Napolitano’s statement out of context, here is the context:
Q: So, uh, just to finish up on … on the question, I do want to talk to you about security measures but do you think that … has there been any evidence of the al Qaeda ties … uh … that this suspect has been claiming?
A: Um, right now that is … that’s part of the criminal justice investigation that is ongoing, and … um .. I think it would … uh … be inappropriate to speculate … uh … as to whether or not he he has such ties. Uh, what we’re focused on is making sure that … uh … the air environment remains safe, that people are confident when they travel, and uh, one thing I’d like to point is that … is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The … the passengers and crew of the flight … uh … took appropriate action. Uh .. within …uh …. literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures … uh … in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. Uh … we instituted new measure on the ground and at … at screening areas both here in the United States and in Europe … uh … uh … where this flight originated, so .. uh … the … the … the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively, went very smoothly.
In other words, issuing a suspected terrorist a visa and putting him on the terrorist “watch” list but not the no-fly list was not a failure of the system. After all, not all terrorists are meant to be stopped; some, like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, were merely meant to be watched. Nor was it a failure of the system that allowed Abdulmutallab to smuggle in explosives. All the system was supposed to do is to keep him from smuggling them in his shoes or a 4 ounce bottle, which he didn’t do. Nor was The System supposed to provide Jasper Schuringa with a safe flight from Point A to Point B; no, paying customers like Schuringa are unpaid volunteers of The System! As is Abdulmutallab himself, whose own idiocy was yet another example of The System working.
The one objective success, such as it is, that Napolitano identifies on the part of the federal government was the fact that all flights in the air were notified of the incident within 90 minutes of the attack. In other words, Napolitano’s DHS, a.k.a., The System, worked just as well on Friday as it did on September 11, 2001, when it did not exist.
Call me a conspiracy nut, but no one is that stupid. My money says Napolitano’s crazy talk is designed not to reassure the public that flying is safe, but to cut greenhouse gases by scaring the crap out of the traveling public so no one will fly. Cap and trade having failed, this is Plan B. If I’m right, Napolitano’s statements will go largely unchallenged. If I am wrong, and Napolitano really is as dumb as she sounds, then within two weeks’ time she’ll either get the “heckuva job” treatment from the Administration or have all the would-be “fact” checkers from Snopes, Annenberg Political (comically known as “Fact Check”) and Politifact on down will be furiously explaining away the “myth” slash “lie” that she said what she said. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: I don’t know much. I don’t know too much. But I know this: stuff is messed up.