Shocking? Not So Much

The Obama administration warned us to expect a shock when it released today’s preliminary report on the Christmas bomber. But neither the report nor President Obama’s public statement contained anything new, let alone shocking. On the contrary, both were full of platitudes and short on information.
On the other hand, current news reports do contain a bombshell: US border security officials caught on to Mr. Abdulmutallab, realized that he was en route to America, and were prepared to question him when he got off the airplane:

U.S. border security officials learned of intelligence about the alleged extremist links of the suspect in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt as he was en route to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed, officials said in new disclosures today.
The new information shows that border enforcement officials came across important clues about the suspect despite previous intelligence failures that were criticized by President Obama this week. …
“The people in Detroit were prepared to look at him in secondary inspection,” said a senior law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. “The decision had been made. The . . . database had picked up the State Department concern about this guy, that this guy may have been involved with extremist elements in Yemen. . . . They could have made a decision on whether to stop him from getting on the plane.”

For some reason, that revelation is missing from the administration’s preliminary report.
If there was anything surprising about the administration’s revelations, it was perhaps this moment in Obama’s statement:

We are at war. We are at war against Al Qaida, a far-reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again. And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them.

The prospect of losing a re-election race concentrates the mind wonderfully.


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