Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sat down with Euronews for an exclusive talk about security issues during her recent trip to Europe. She told the news outlet that another 9/11 is “virtually impossible.”
Ms. Napolitano talked about how more cooperation between American and Europe would increase security. She spoke about sharing more information on air passengers, but also protect privacy rights and civil liberties. America and the European Union have agreed “to share advanced passenger information about airline passengers under certain circumstances.” Ms. Napolitano didn't disclose what information would be shared, but she insisted it would remain private.
Euronews moved onto 9/11 and Ms. Napolitano said DHS and U.S. security is better than it was five years ago because they’ve put in “new and innovative technologies” that would make another 9/11 impossible. Yet, when asked what form of terrorism keeps her awake at night, Ms. Napolitano said aviation. If another 9/11 won’t happen, why does aviation keep her up at night? If all these securities at home are stellar then she shouldn't have these worries.
But the aviation attacks aren’t a threat from within America. She told Euronews “we can’t ever rest and say we’re finished. Once we say that, our adversaries will find some other means of attack.” Napolitano brought up the cargo bomb on a plane out of Yemen, but she didn’t mention the Underwear Bomber from Christmas Day 2009.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to detonate plastic explosives on a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit. British intelligence told US intelligence about Umar Farouk (left out his last name) working with Anwar al-Awlaki, pledging support for jihad. His father Alhaji Umaru Mutallab told CIA agents at the US Embassy in Nigeria about his son’s extremist views and that he might be in Yemen. The CIA added his name to the 550,000 Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, but they didn’t add him to the FBI’s 400,000 name Terrorist Screening database that feeds the 14,000 name Secondary Screening Selectee list and the US 4,000 name No Fly List. It didn’t help his US visa was not revoked. Revoking his visa could have foiled a larger investigation into al-Qaeda. Additionally, if the National Counterterrorism Center checked to see if his US visa was valid they would have seen the British rejected his visa application in early 2009.
It appears there are too many steps adding people to these lists and they constantly fall through the cracks, but adding more intrusive screenings on American soil help security. Despite the British and Abdulmutallab’s father giving plenty of warning to American officials, it was American officials who didn’t do enough to keep him off the plane.
If another 9/11 won't happen, why keep adding to security at home? Why does an aviation attack keep her up at night? It also appears Europe tried to help us with Abdulmutallab, but since we have so many lists he fell through the cracks. Maybe Ms. Napolitano should concentrate on other foreign tactics where radical Islam is prevalent like Africa and Yemen.