January 2, 2010
It is only a matter of time when a major terrorist attack will occur in the West. Until Christmas day, there was a feeling of relative security and that governments had matters under control. The extensive airport security has been re-assuring until Umar Faral Abdul Mutallah, a Nigerian trained in Yemen tried to blow up a Delta plane (under North-West’s control).
It is extraordinary that a Nigerian travelling from Nigeria via Amsterdam, with no baggage and only a one-way ticket, was not regarded as suspicious and the explosives he was carrying were not detected. He was the subject of a Foreign Office report, intelligence reports to the US agencies and his father denounced his son to the British Embassy. Thus the embassy, the Schiphol authorities and Washington are all to blame.
As none of us have access to intelligence, we can at best indicate how we see things. My views are:
• We haven’t learned from 9/11 which exposed a serious lack of cooperation between the (too many) US intelligence agencies.
• There is insufficient cooperation between national authorities.
• Lack of cooperation persists, due principally to turf wars.
• The American failures appear to result from incompetence.
• The Transport Security Administration (TSA) still does not have a head because his confirmation is being blocked: it is to be hoped that the latest incident will change this.
• There are body scanners which would have exposed the explosives, but they are not widely in use. Schiphol airport is now installing scanning equipment.
• Passenger screening is not sufficiently employed.
Maybe some lessons can be learned from El Al.Author : Stanley Crossick