What Went Wrong?

As more information comes to light about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, questions about why he was allowed to fly to the U.S. without any sort of screening continue to multiply. The Associated Press reports this morning:

A U.S. official in Washington said [Abdulmutallab’s] father’s concerns were shared among those in the embassy, including liaison personnel from other agencies based there, such as the FBI. The alert was then relayed to Washington and again shared among agencies such as the State, Justice and Homeland Security departments, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation.

So Homeland Security had a specific warning about Abdulmutallab from his father. In addition, Abdulmutallab paid for his expensive ticket in cash and checked no luggage. And standard airport screening devices failed to detect the presence of plastic explosives on his person.
It is hard to imagine a more complete failure of our air security system. In two morning television appearances, Janet Napolitano fielded tough questions about these multiple security breakdowns. There was no more talk about how “successfully” our systems operated.

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