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NYT: Package Plot Was Significant Success

From those defenders of the faith at the New York Times:

Bomb Plot Shows Key Role Played by Intelligence

October 31, 2010

In the middle of last week, a woman who claimed her name was Hanan al-Samawi, a 22-year-old engineering student, walked into the U.P.S. office in the upscale Hadda neighborhood of Sana, Yemen’s sprawling capital city. She displayed a photocopied identification card, and dropped off a bomb hidden inside a printer cartridge with a Chicago address listed as the package’s destination. A few blocks away, another package concealing a homemade bomb was dropped off at a FedEx office, also seemingly headed to Chicago.

Within days, the two packages had advanced through four countries in at least four different airplanes — two of them carrying passengers — before they were identified in Britain and Dubai after an 11th-hour tip from Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service set off an international terrorism alert and a frantic hunt.

The foiling of the package plot was a significant success in an era of well-publicized intelligence breakdowns and miscommunications. It was also a sobering reminder to officials around the world that quick response to timely intelligence rules the day. Despite the billions of dollars governments have spent on elaborate airport technology to guard against terrorism threats, the packages would probably have been loaded onto planes bound for the United States, but for the Saudi tip.

In other words, this "significant success" was once again a lucky break after all.

The plot also points up holes in the system, particularly the security of cargo flights, that have already caused criticism abroad and are likely to rekindle new debates in the United States.

In Qatar, officials acknowledged Sunday that one of the packages had been carried on two Qatar Airways passenger planes, apparently having eluded the airline’s cargo screening system. In Britain, officials were embarrassed about how long it took the authorities to identify one of the packages as a carefully concealed bomb.

Again, this is what The Times calls a "significant success."

American and Yemeni officials still have little hard evidence about who was involved in the thwarted attack. On Sunday officials in Yemen discovered that Ms. Samawi’s identity had apparently been stolen, and that she was not the same woman who dropped off the packages. Ms. Samawi was released on bail on Sunday, and the authorities in Yemen have thus far arrested no other suspects.

It was one more piece of a carefully designed and cleverly disguised plot that investigators believe was conceived by Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, the group that American officials say might pose the most immediate threat to American soil.

We thought that there was no threat to the US from terrorism. And even if there is, it is all in Afghanistan.

In television appearances on Sunday, John O. Brennan, President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, said that American and British authorities were leaning toward the conclusion that the packages were meant to detonate in midair, en route to their destinations in Chicago.

But it’s really those damn domestic terrorists – especially the Tea Party supporters – who we have to worry about.

By the way, has anyone asked Juan Williams for his thoughts on this matter?

If that turns out to be the case, it would be a rare attack aimed at the air cargo system — one of the foundations of the global economy — rather than the passenger system, which has received the most attention from governments working to avoid a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks…

“It is time for the shipping industry and the business community to accept the reality that more needs to be done to secure cargo planes so that they cannot be turned into a delivery systems for bombs targeting our country,” Representative Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a statement

Of course, the main reason Democrats like Mr. Markey feign concern about cargo security is because it would require hiring even more of their union cronies.

Even when the cargo is checked, air carriers in certain countries use equipment like X-ray detection devices or a visual check by an airport worker that often cannot identify packages with bombs, because the small amount of explosive material can be carefully hidden inside a routine electronic device, like a computer printer.

Which is more or less what happened in several of these cases.

The bomb dropped at the U.P.S. office in Sana ended up in East Midlands Airport, near Nottingham, England, by way of Cologne, Germany. A terrorism alert from Washington provoked a search for the package, which was found and kept from being shipped to the United States. But British authorities took more than 20 hours to determine that it contained hidden explosives

So what luck would a cargo inspector have?

The second package — a bomb hidden inside a Hewlett-Packard desktop printer — was sent out Thursday on a Qatar Airways passenger flight to Doha, the Qatari capital…

By that time Emirati authorities had received a warning call from Britain about a suspicious package there, and they identified the printer almost immediately, according to an official familiar with the investigation. Investigators removed and dismantled the explosive, which had been placed into the toner cartridge printer so carefully that all the printer’s components appeared to be in place and it might well have passed unnoticed.

A cellphone was concealed in the bottom of the printer, and the printer head was designed to detonate the explosives.

On Sunday, officials in Qatar said in a statement that “the explosives discovered were of a sophisticated nature whereby they could not be detected by X-ray screening or trained sniffer dogs.”

Once again, so much for the argument for more screening.

As for who was behind the plot, evidence remains elusive, though officials believe the bombs bear the hallmarks of Al Qaeda in Yemen’s top bomb maker. On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a cable saying that the packages might have been linked to two schools in Yemen. If true, that would suggest that foreign students might have been involved in the plot, as in the attempted bombing of a commercial jetliner in Detroit last Dec. 25 by a Nigerian trained in Yemen

By the way, according to The Times, it took at least nine reporters to put together this article. And yet neither of the words ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islam’ occur once in the piece’s 1,460 words.

Indeed, there is no mention of any possible motive at all. That is what passes for journalism in the New Caliphate of the 21st Century.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, November 1st, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “NYT: Package Plot Was Significant Success”

  1. P. Aaron says:

    Hey Jihadi’s. Lose your Terror Instruction Manual? Hit the NYT website and use the ‘Search’ function.

  2. tranquil.night says:

    Right on, right on Obama, you kept us safe. What, that’s what you were out to remind us by having your media hype this suspiciously timed half-assed attempt of a non-attack? Honestly if the Pentagon and the middle-eastern Liberals at AQ weren’t so quick to confirm this, I’d have wondered if it weren’t disgruntled postal union workers angry with UPS. Not that I’d voice such careless suspicion publicly like Mike Bloomberg.

    Anyway, the new new new Obama.. A “principled”man, love him or hate him, he’s managed to keep America safe. Why suddenly he’s got a lot in common with a certain more popular ex-president, no not Clinton! Quick, someone call the AP!

    Yes, he is that desperate and no, he’s quite endangered our security. Big time.

    • Adam Moreira says:

      Those terrorists in the MidEast surely aren’t liberal.

      As for who endangered our security – blame the activist judiciary. Terrorists attacks are happening all of the time; the question is if the press is allowed to divulge details of it.

  3. proreason says:

    It’s the October surprise that failed.

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