December 29, 2009

Following Up

Chuck, back from the raucousness (until Thursday, 31 December, anyway) of my typical Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day festivities.

A belated Merry Christmas to many, Happy Hannukah to others. Sorry, we don’t do Atheism, Quansa or Ramadan (Ram-It-In?) here.

By “following up”, I refer to the aftermath of what’s his face, um, why do these murdering assholes have to have these tongue twisters for names, rather than just a simple “Abdul” or “Achmed”? Um, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, that’s it. One of Allah’s faithful, for sure.

Seth pretty well explained how we feel about Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland “Security” and about the way that passel of morons she commands runs the TSA.

And Barack Hussein, that guy a bunch of naive, anti-America or simply stupid people elected president.

Yeah, I know. I’m not what you’d call one of the politically correct, I just call it as I see it, though at this forum I endeavor to be considerably more sedate than I am elsewhere.

So, for this post I’ve brought with me a few links pertaining to the close call the folks aboard Flight 253 experienced and the state of our Homeland “Security” situation in general.

From CNS News:

President Barack Obama, in his first public comments on the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit, described the suspect as “an isolated extremist,” despite reports that the 23-year-old Nigerian had been trained in Yemen, a country he visited twice.

The Associated Press, quoting a Yemeni government official, said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab lived in Yemen for two extended periods of time — a year, from 2004-2005 and again from August-December this year. He apparently was in Yemen a few weeks before the attempt to blow Flight 253 out of the sky over Michigan.

An isolated extremist, of course. There are only a handful of misguided followers of the Religion of Peace© who entertain any malevolent feelings toward America and we, the infidels herein.

More of our fearless leader’s PC and other assorted bullshit can be found in the linked article.

But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Also from CNS News, Homeland Security Touts 2009 Accomplishments, Including ‘Secure Flight’ Program

Just days before a Nigerian man tried to blow up a U.S. airliner as it descended into Detroit, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released its “2009 Accomplishments & Reforms” fact sheet, touting its “Secure Flight” passenger vetting program.

The Obama administration has confirmed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was on the U.S. government terrorist watch list, but the 23-year-old man was still able to board a Northwest plane in Amsterdam bound for Michigan.

On the DHS fact sheet, issued on Dec. 15, the “Secure Flight” program is second on the list and is described as a program that “prescreens name, date of birth and gender against government watch lists for domestic and international flights.”

They sure did a great job in preventing Abdulmutallab, al-Qaeda’s newest celebrity, from getting aboard Flight 253, explosives and all, wouldn’t you agree?

From the Heritage Foundation’s Blog:

Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), the explosive Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate aboard Northwest Airlines flight 253, is among the most powerful of explosives in the world and was widely used to blow up airplanes in the 1970s and 1980s. The only reason the passengers of Flight 253 are still alive today is because Mr. Abdulmutallab’s syringe detonator failed for still unknown reasons.

Yet despite the facts that PETN is easily detected and Mr. Abdulmutallab’s father warned the U.S. embassy in Nigeria about his son this November, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had the audacity to go on television yesterday and say “the system worked” and that the suspect was properly screened. The “system worked?” The 278 passengers on flight 253 could be dead today but for a faulty syringe and the Obama administration considers that a success? That is pure idiocy. Idiocy that is a direct threat to the security of this country and that goes to the heart of the Obama administration’s approach to the war on terror.

What on earth could Secretary Napolitano possibly mean when she said the “system worked?”

Good question, read the rest of the linked post.

And then move on to what we’ll call a recap by Wesley Pruden, from today’s Jewish World Review:

Well, to paraphrase a famous president of a slightly earlier time, “you’re doing a heckuva job, Janet.” That goes for everybody at the White House.

If Barack Obama wants to reassure a nervous public that bureaucratic incompetence won’t be tolerated, he might look to the example of what happened to the director of FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But no one expects the president to sack Janet Napolitano, the secretary of something the government insists on calling Homeland Security.

That’s not how an administration that regards words and deeds as equals actually works. The lessons in the latest Islamist attempt to bring down a Western airliner could be useful, but such lessons are too painful for the guvvies to think about.

Mzz Napolitano’s early assurance, since amended, that “the system worked” was either dopey beyond belief, or an unintended ringing endorsement of the ancient folk ethic that “G0d helps those who help themselves.” Better G0d than a guvvie, but not everyone can count on having as a fellow passenger a young Dutchman with quick instincts, athletic grace, a sharp eye and a full complement of bravery and courage. That’s not really a “system” for securing the homeland.

President Obama, interrupting a day at the beach, told reporters in Hawaii that he would pursue the plotters in Arabia and he would not rest until they are caught. This time he did not promise they would be executed, as he did of the Guantanamo plotters who are to be tried in New York City. But the attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it approached Detroit was “a serious reminder” of the dangers George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and other Republicans warned us about. (Of course, he couldn’t afford to say it quite that way.)

Mr. Obama’s tough-guy rhetoric, his words plain, pretty and well-parsed, is more reassuring than his deeds, or would be if there was evidence that he really understands what must be done. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young jihadist from Nigeria by way of Yemen, was quickly indicted on federal charges of trying to destroy an aircraft, which means that he will have the full array of rights accorded to every defendant in an American court. Someone will have to read his Miranda rights, and he will have the right to a lawyer. This will please the civil rights radicals who imagine the Constitution to be a suicide pact, and who don’t, or can’t, understand that the most important civil right of all is the right not to be murdered. Murder, after all, is the surest way to deprive someone of his other civil rights.

If ever a system isn’t working, this is the one. Warning flags the size of bedsheets fluttered above checkpoints on two continents. The suspect’s father tried to warn the American government that his son had been radicalized and was looking for an opportunity to slaughter innocents. That should have been enough to interview the young man before revoking his visa. But such common sense, common nearly everywhere else, is rarely rewarded in the government precincts of the politically correct. Someone eager to scratch the itch to wound America might be offended.

Where were the intelligence services that soak up so many of the nation’s billions every year? Did the CIA talk to the FBI, or the DEA to DIA, or did considerations of protecting turf take precedence, as such considerations often do? The Obama administration promises an investigation, naturally, and of course it will be fair, thorough, hard-hitting, blah, blah and blah. Congress should be suspicious of bureaucrats investigating themselves, and conduct its own investigation. But Democrats in Congress will no doubt be more interested in protecting the administration than finding out what really happened. To find out might compel even a senator to actually do something.

The Detroit incident ought to persuade President Obama once and for all that making nice with those who are determined to kill as many of us as they can is a fool’s errand. He can go back to Cairo again and again to apologize as eloquently as he can, and when the apologies are over and he bumps the floor with his forehead in bowing to whomever, the Islamic jihadists will still despise us and will continue to plot to destroy us.

Janet Napolitano can conjure up more ways to harass air travelers, going after all those blue-eyed Scandinavian grannies in Minnesota again to avoid “profiling” the likely terrorists. She may require us to take off our pants as well as our shoes. But even with more harassment of the innocent, she still won’t have a “system” that works. We must pray for a Dutchman.

Amen!

December 12, 2009

Just When I Thought That Maybe…

…I could, in any kind of conscience, leave one of my few pet peeves, that being the incompetence of the Transportation Safety Administration, by the wayside, along comes this item.

The Transportation Security Administration inadvertently revealed closely guarded secrets related to airport passenger screening practices when it posted online this spring a document as part of a contract solicitation, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

The 93-page TSA operating manual details procedures for screening passengers and checked baggage, such as technical settings used by X-ray machines and explosives detectors. It also includes pictures of credentials used by members of Congress, CIA employees and federal air marshals, and it identifies 12 countries whose passport holders are automatically subjected to added scrutiny.

TSA officials said that the manual was posted online in a redacted form on a federal procurement Web site, but that the digital redactions were inadequate. They allowed computer users to recover blacked-out passages by copying and pasting them into a new document or an e-mail.

Okayyyyy….

Yeah, I know, in the past I posted quite a bit about TSA, about their incompetence and the dangers it poses, as a result, to the millions of people who fly out of U.S. airports annually.

The problem, as I’ve said before, is not that the rank and file employees of the TSA are lazy, don’t want to do their jobs or what have you, and not even that they, themselves, are as incompetent as their agency is, as a whole.

Like any government entity, the TSA is run not by people who should be running it, ie veteran industry professionals who have been around the block a few times, but by political appointees who, despite flowery resumes of administrative excellence and vast bureaucratic experience, don’t know diddly about the hands-on aspects of that which they purport to command.

This was true at TSA’s inception, and it’s true today.

It was true under the Bush Administration and it’s true under the Obama Administration, and it’ll probably still be the same under the next administration.

Why?

Because those who run your — our — government, Democrat and Republican alike, care more about the repayment of political favors than they do about your — our — lives. Period.

Stewart A. Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, said that the manual will become a textbook for those seeking to penetrate aviation security and that its leaking was serious.

“It increases the risk that terrorists will find a way through the defenses,” Baker said. “The problem is there are so many different holes that while [the TSA] can fix any one of them by changing procedures and making adjustments in the process . . . they can’t change everything about the way they operate.”

Of course there are “so many different holes” — what do you expect when you entrust policies to people who shouldn’t even be managing a security agency?

Another former DHS official, however, called the loss a public relations blunder but not a major risk, because TSA manuals are shared widely with airlines and airports and are available in the aviation community.

“While it’s certainly a type of document you would not want to be released . . . it’s not something a determined expert couldn’t find another way,” the official said.

A “public relations blunder” is certainly of more worry to a government agency than a risk to the lives of those that depend upon them for security.

As for it’s not something a determined expert couldn’t find another way, well, to say that such a statement should earn the official who uttered it an immediate date with a firing squad would be completely accurate in my book. A dedicated security professional would be looking for methods of preventing “a determined expert” from “finding it another way”.

The “former DHS official”, in my professional estimate, is a piece of shit who has no business in the Protection Industry, not even emptying the waste baskets of the folks actively engaged in doing the job at hand. But then again, look who’s running the Department of Homeland Security — Janet Napolitano, no real, hands-on security experience, instead, an infinitely more relevant qualification, political relevance.

This is a measure of how cavalier, in the name of self and party serving politics, the government can be with the safety of we, the people, whom they are sworn to protect and defend.

Of course, there’s the usual bland, butt covering form letter style malarkey from the TSA.

“TSA takes this matter very seriously and took swift action when this was discovered. A full review is now underway,” the agency said in a statement. “TSA has many layers of security to keep the traveling public safe and to constantly adapt to evolving threats. TSA is confident that screening procedures currently in place remain strong.”

To be perfectly blunt, what’s needed is management, from top to bottom, of the Transportation Safety Administration by purely meritoriously appointed or hired, experienced security professionals who have no political or other debts to anyone in the administration or anyplace else in government.

Such people would ensure the proper training and, in effect, that those trained in each specialty area have completely absorbed all of said training before they are deployed. That these employees are properly motivated. That their supervisory personnel are both responsible people and are experts themselves at their subordinates’ duties, “been there, done that”.

The incompetence at hand, as such, makes for a rather grim joke.

Employees at the Transportation Security Administration inadvertently exposed classified information about the agency’s security procedures because, apparently, they don’t know how PDF documents work.

Read on…