If nothing else, our defenses against extremism are still sadly inadequate.
A Nigerian man with reported links to Al-Qaeda tried to blow up a US airliner with a new type of explosive device Friday before being tackled by passengers in what officials said was an attempted Christmas Day terror attack."A Nigerian man with reported links to Al-Qaeda has tried to blow up a US airliner with a new type of explosive device before being tackled by passengers in what officials said was an attempted Christmas Day terror attack."
Some travellers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit panicked but others sprang into action, overwhelming the man as he lit the device, which reportedly made a popping sound and burst into flames.
The suspect's clothes caught fire and he suffered serious burn wounds…
…White House officials and US lawmakers said the incident was a terror attack and President Barack Obama, on vacation with his family in Hawaii, ordered increased security measures after being briefed on the attempt.
"We believe this was an attempted act of terrorism," a senior White House official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Obama held a secure conference call with his Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism Advisor John Brennan, and National Security Council chief of staff Denis McDonough.
Obama "instructed that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel," the White House said.
"The president is actively monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates," the statement read.
The incident unfolded around noon local time (1700 GMT) when the passenger lit what was initially described as a firework.
Initial reports said the man had been "subdued" after causing a disturbance but no harm.
"A passenger aboard a trans-Atlantic flight attempted to ignite an explosive device as Northwest Airlines Flight from Amsterdam was landing in Detroit in an incident US officials have called an attempted terrorist attack."
But subsequent details painted a much more serious picture, in which a man with alleged extremist links had tried to set off a sophisticated and previously unused type of explosive.
King, the senior Republican on the House of Representatives Homeland Security committee, said … [ideologue fear mongering deleted]
…US media, citing a federal security bulletin, said the man told investigators he had acquired the explosive device in Yemen, along with instructions as to when it should be used.
Sandra Berchtold, an FBI spokeswoman in Detroit, told AFP the incident was under investigation, and the Transportation Safety Administration said it had isolated the plane and was conducting additional screening.
"President Barack Obama has ordered increased security for air travel after a man reportedly attempted to bomb an aircraft making a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit."
"All passengers de-planed and out of an abundance of caution the plane was moved to a remote area where the plane and all the baggage are currently being re-screened," the agency said in a statement.
The incident drew comparisons with the case of the "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, who attempted to bomb a trans-Atlantic flight in December 2001 by igniting explosives smuggled aboard in his shoes.
As with the Reid case, initial reports suggested passengers were responsible for preventing a more serious situation.
The Reid incident sparked an drastic increase in security on airplane flights.
Syed Jafry, a passenger aboard the flight, told CNN that one traveler in particular tackled the man.
"He took care of that suspect. He handled him pretty good," Jaffry said.
"There was a little bit, obviously, of a struggle. And I think he took it under control."
In the Netherlands, anti-terrorism officials said the suspect was not a Dutch national or resident.
The man arrived at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport on a connecting flight, said Judith Sluiter, the spokeswoman for the Netherlands' anti-terrorism coordinator... [emphasis added]
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Obama has not been in office long enough for his policies to transform our homeland security apparatus, so it is still leaky as a sieve, because the Bush/GOP regime was too busy using homeland security tools to curtail US citizens’ freedom and to cement their own grip on power to attend to actual security for this nation. Although we have not been told why and for whom this man tried to attack the US, his Nigerian nationality is a clear indication that controlling extremist criminals’ access to Afghanistan does nothing to thwart their worldwide operations.