I don't really know all that much about Janet Napolitano but after her appearance on CNN's State of the Union, I give her an F for her ability to evaluate the effectiveness of U.S. safety measures. Or as President Obama would say, she earns a solid B+. Napolitano's assessment, from the transcript.
What we are focused on is making sure that the air environment remains safe, that people are confident when they travel. And one thing I’d like to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action. Within literally an hour to 90 minutes of the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been notified to take some special measures in light of what had occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight. We instituted new measures on the ground and at screening areas, both here in the United States and in Europe, where this flight originated.
So the whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly.
I missed the show, so I don't know if Napolitano managed to keep a straight face while letting this drop or not. I'm not sure how anyone could seriously say the system worked when a bomb was successfully smuggled onto a flight bound for the U.S. We have the incompetence of the would-be terrorist to thank for the failure of the attack as much as any success of the system. Still, I'm glad she's is feeling good about how smoothly everything went and how everyone played their proper role, self-esteem being so important.
Apparently Secretary Napolitano sets a very low bar. I'd rather not have to rely on inept terrorists and brave, quick-thinking passengers to keep me safe on a flight. I'd rather that people whose behavior has become so problematic that family members report them to the U.S. embassy have their visas rescinded. Call me crazy.
Unfortunately, the new procedures being put in place (the ones we're hearing about, anyway), appear to be regrettably misguided and reactionary. The measures, which seem designed to deny would-be terrorists access to and opportunities to deploy their cleverly smuggled bombs, seem more likely to inconvenience law-abiding passengers than thwart a determined terrorist. What's to keep a terrorist from launching into action 90 minutes prior to landing rather than 59 minutes?
More importantly, will airport sales of Depends surge as passengers are forced to remain in their seats for the last hour of the flight? Should I buy stock?
Even sensible precautions such as pat downs become nonsensical when applied evenly across the board to blue-eyed grandmothers and young Muslim men with ties to al Qaeda who have recently returned from Yemen "vacations."
Either Janet Napolitano deliberately chose to mislead the American people by calling this situation a success or she doesn't have the mental capacity to perform her duties competently.
(As is becoming the norm, if you want all the details of a story that might reflect poorly on the Obama Administration, read the Telegraph. God bless the Brits.)