Al-Qaeda Determined to Succeed

091228 at 8:12 am 4 comments

Analyst Says Al-Qaeda Determined to Succeed

Monday, December 28, 2009

(By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor, – The failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day sends the “chilling message” that al-Qaeda has not given up on its desire to attack the United States, despite earlier failures – and that potential suicide bombers are getting through screening, a security analyst said Sunday.

The Detroit incident occurred nearly eight years to the day after Richard Reid’s failed attempt to destroy an aircraft on a transatlantic flight, using explosive hidden in his shoes.

Like Reid’s device, the one allegedly used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 contained the explosive chemical pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), a component of the plastic explosive Semtex, according to the FBI. Abdulmutallab apparently used a syringe containing a liquid trigger in his attempt to detonate it.

In both incidents, the failure of the bombings was not due to security measures at the originating European airports. The bombs were not picked up by metal detectors at Charles de Gaulle in Paris in 2001, or at Schiphol, Amsterdam in 2009, and the men carrying them evidently had no difficulty getting onto their flights.

Rather, it was apparent technical difficulties, combined with alert crew and passengers, that saved the more than 190 people onboard American Airlines Flight 63, a Boeing 767, on Dec. 22, 2001, and the 278 people on the Northwest Airbus A330 on Dec. 25, 2009.

In Friday’s incident, the FBI said the 23 year-old Nigerian had a device “attached to his body,” and after spending 20 minutes in a toilet returned to his seat and tried to detonate it on the final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport. After causing “a fire and what appears to have been an explosion” he was “subdued and restrained by the passengers and flight crew.”

Abdulmutallab, treated for his burns at a hospital, has been charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft and placing a destructive device in a plane.

Former Indian counterterrorism official Bahukutumbi Raman recalled the Reid episode as well as another previous plot to blow up planes headed for the U.S. using liquid explosives. The latter plot was foiled by British police in its planning stage in 2006.

“Despite the failure of its previous two attempts to blow up U.S.-bound planes with the help of suicide bombers, al-Qaeda has not relented in its determination to strike at the U.S. in its homeland – either on land or in its air space,” he said. “This is the chilling message from the Detroit incident.”

Raman noted that failure of the 2001 and 2009 attempts was “due to circumstances beyond the control of al-Qaeda and not due to the effectiveness of the security measures … or the alertness of the Western intelligence agencies.”

The use of PETN and the hiding of the device in Abdulmutallab’s crotch area has drawn attention to an incident in Saudi Arabia last summer, when a Saudi security minister narrowly escaped death at the hands of a similarly armed terrorist.

Pretending to be a militant wanting to surrender – as part of a Saudi terrorist rehabilitation program – Abdullah al-Asiri got within feet of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef before his bomb exploded. Saudi investigators examined the possibility that the PETN had been secreted in his anus but said later it was hidden in his underwear.

Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia claimed credit for the attempt to assassinate Nayef, who was lightly injured in the blast.

Abdulmutallab reportedly claims to have got his device from al-Qaeda in Yemen; al-Asiri was Yemen-based before his sham surrender to Nayef.

Raman opined that al-Qaeda wanted to demonstrate its ability to mount a spectacular and deadly attack targeting America despite the losses it has sustained in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region this year.

Stay seated

The Reid incident led to far greater attention being paid to shoes during pre-boarding security checks. The foiled 2006 plot resulted in strict regulations limiting the amount of liquids and gels passengers the world over were able to take onboard.

The possibility of explosive hidden in passengers’ crotch area raises obvious challenges for security officials.

“Unless we search – including cavity searches, by the way – every passenger getting on a plane, that’s the only way you can guarantee they don’t have PETN on them,” terrorism analyst Peter Bergen told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (AP Photo)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement that U.S.-bound plane passengers “may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere.”

Carriers on routes to the U.S. warned passengers of various additional Transportation Security Administration (TSA) directives.

Air Canada said they would include a ban on passengers leaving their seats or getting access to carry-on baggage during the last hour of a U.S.-bound flight, or having personal belongings or other items on their laps.

Northwest, United and other airlines told passengers to allow extra time for the boarding process; Singapore Airlines said there would be restrictions on the use of in-seat telephones; British Airways said wrapped gifts in carry-on baggage would have to be opened; Cathay Pacific said “pat down checks” should be expected; and Virgin Atlantic said carry-on baggage allowance for U.S. destinations had been reduced to a single item, maximum 13lb in weight.

‘One-yard line’

Napolitano, also speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, argued that “the system worked” on Northwest flight 253.

“The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. We instituted new measures on the ground and at screening areas, both here in the United States and in Europe, where this flight originated.”

Rep. Peter King of New York, ranking Republican on the House homeland security committee, took issue with her comments, saying on CBS’ Face the Nation later Sunday that the suspect had made it onto the plane and had detonated his charge.

“If that had been successful the plane would have come down and we would have had a Christmas Day massacre with almost 300 people murdered,” he said. “He got right to the one-yard line.”

“Earlier today, Secretary Napolitano said the system worked. The fact is the system did not work,” King said. “We have to find a bipartisan way to fix it.” [editor’s note: the “system” is flawed! It excludes profiling. Politically Correct garbage is preferred by the other side, than safety of US.]

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Obama had ordered a review in two main areas – procedures for putting suspicious passengers on watch lists, and pre-boarding detection capabilities.

Gibbs said Obama “absolutely” believes it is safe for Americans to fly.

By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

Entry filed under: Islamization, PCgarbage, Security. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

An Arabic Christmas Carol (Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity) They Have Forgotten

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. dancingczars  |  091228 at 1:03 pm

    perhaps Incapaton’s definition of “it worke” As obama is hat he created new jobs and we are out the the recession. We haven’t seen anything until the massive inflation begins, most probably on someone elses watch. Jim

  • 2. hepsy  |  091228 at 1:58 pm

    Do you, really, think Obama is opposed to the efforts of his religion to blow US up? Physically, financially, Constitutionally, religiously…
    Napolitano sounds stupid. But ya gotta admit, Obama is organizing this world community for his religion (which includes US paying world welfare).
    Mahalo and aloha!

  • 3. nightThinker  |  091229 at 8:35 am

    The system failed because political correctness requires airport authorities to pull little old gray-haired ladies out of line for scrutiny while allowing anyone who fits the profile of a terrorist to breeze through. Isn’t this profiling? Aren’t little old gray-haired ladies being profiled?

    • 4. hepsy  |  091229 at 9:56 am

      You got that right!
      Political Correctness is intended to change our way of thinking. They call identifying a person according to characteristics of known terrorists, discrimination. Then they pretend profiling is random. I wouldn’t be surprised if TSA avoided a traveller if he put a bomb belt on the conveyor belt, if he showed characteristics of known terrorists.
      Mahalo for your comment, and aloha!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

e Komo Mai!

 Subscribe in a reader

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hepsy's Kuleana and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10 other followers

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Bookmark and Share
Increase your website traffic with

Find the best blogs at

%d bloggers like this: