Who do you blame for the “syringe bomber” ?

His family contacted security agencies two months ago to raise concerns and his teachers say he was showing signs of extremism from a young age.

 He was even on a terrorism watch list.

So how did Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the Nigerian man suspected of plotting to blow up a  plane from Amsterdam to Detroit get so close to fulfilling his goal?

Despite the fact that the 23-year-old managed to get on board the flight, the Obama administration insist that their security measures worked. But not everyone agrees.

“The fact that the bomber was able to evade current safety restrictions shows how, regardless of security, determined terrorists will manage to circumvent even the most rigorous procedures applied in airports,” says this piece.

The Washington Examiner feels that the US has taken its eye off the ball.
“U.S. officials have now been twice fooled by terrorists preparing and conducting attacks while hiding in plain sight. Just as Abdulmutallab’s radical views were known, so were those of U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood earlier this year. This suggests that there has been a breakdown in the U.S. intelligence network. But there is an even more worrisome possible explanation here — a lessening of focus by intelligence officials who fear being prosecuted for doing whatever is necessary to protect the American people. ”

Should other countries be doing more? Can this be expected to be just a one-off event or should Nigeria be showing greater concern about its potential as a breeding ground for radicals? asks this blog.

“Face it,” says one comment in this forum. “The terrorists are always one step ahead”.

The papers and blogs have been full of people blaming “radicals” for turning him towards terrorism, security officials for not stopping him, airport staff for not searching him properly – but how much reponsibility does the would-be bomber accept ?

109 Responses to “Who do you blame for the “syringe bomber” ?”

  1. 1 Frank in the USA
    December 28, 2009 at 11:43

    “the Obama administration insist that their security measures worked. But not everyone agrees.”

    The guy got on the plane in Europe. What’s that got to do with Obama? It’s European security that failed, not American.

    It’s also time to start instituting racial and ethnic profiling at airports–people’s “feelings” be damned.

    • 2 W
      December 30, 2009 at 06:29

      This is shameful and very painful. It is so shameful. I must say the boy has brought disgrace to himself. If it is true that the father made a report about his son, then I have to praise him for that. How many parents would do such a thing? But it is really shameful is all I can say.

      I must say that this is NOT how Nigerians are. We are not murderers. We don’t hate people. We are ordinary people that just like to “hussle” and I can tell you that Nigerians would rather live poor than die to enjoy later. We love life and live it happily whether we are rich, poor, suffering, dying, happy, whatever the state we find ourselves in. I have not met this kind of person but the Nigerians I know just want to live – bad leaders, good leaders, no leaders, no food, no water, no electricity, ill health, plenty, lack, whatever! I am shocked and it seems I am in a deep sleep that someone would wake me from soon. I can go on and on because right now I am in a daze and “I don’t know where to put my face”. It is so shameful. I know a lot of Nigerians must feel this way because Nigerians love self respect, honour and good name, not witstanding what some Nigerians do to disgrace themselves. I better stop now. What a shame.

    • 3 John Pumphrey
      January 1, 2010 at 18:54

      Why do we tolerate such a dumb bunch of political leaders. It is a nonsense to scan 100 per cent of the travelling public, 99.99999 per cent have no interest other than arriving at their destination a.s.a.p..

      What we need is passenger profiling. The latest idiot bought his ticket with cash, had no hold luggage, is black and has a tribal name. Obamas lot gave him an entry visa and allowed him on a scheduled flight. Can the US of A get any dumber.

      Bin the scanners and get someone with a bit of common sense in on the job.

  2. 4 Nigel
    December 28, 2009 at 12:28

    I have no problem being scanned, patted down, de-shoed and de-belted if that is what is required for secure travel. I hate the time lost, the long lines, and the realization that it is all in reaction to terrorist events, nothing proactive or planned in the slate of security measures applied. In fact it is the terrorist that are setting the agenda and determining what we have to endure. That I object to. More layers of the same thing reeks of impotency and shows that we are not in charge and do not have a real solution. This is not unusual when we try to treat symptoms and not the disease. Wider global political and non-military policies are needed to resolve the Palestinian issue and the Western wars currently taking place on Muslim lands.

  3. 6 Alec Paterson
    December 28, 2009 at 12:49

    The US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was ebullient, maintaining that “the system worked” and “everything happened that should have.” Since Christmas Day the TSA has scrambled to stiffen security procedures, but its effort is foredoomed: jihadis study these procedures carefully, always searching for ways to circumvent them. Abdulmutallab likewise demonstrates the failure of long-term anti-terror strategies. Educated at the British International School in Lome, Togo, he was a classic recipient of Western largesse designed to win over the loyalties of Muslims. Yet his encounter with kindly non-Muslim Westerners spending their lives to educate him and his peers did not blunt the fervour of his jihadist fanaticism. And as a rich man’s son, he once again gives the lie to the firmly and widely held assumption that poverty causes terrorism. All the aid programs based on the assumption that poverty does cause terrorism and that money for schools and roads and hospitals would win over Muslim hearts and minds have not worked, and will not work. All the concerted efforts to ignore the jihad doctrine and reach out to people they deemed to be “moderate Muslims” have likewise not worked. UK universities and colleges are breeding grounds for the jihadis. We have politically correct governments, unwilling to consider that we are fighting a global religious insurgency, a jihad from radical and not-so-radical Islamists that is gaining momentum throughout the Muslim world.

  4. December 28, 2009 at 13:17

    It’s very sad to see a boy of this age involving in terrolism instead of learn in school. It’s a wake up call to US to strengthening their security all the eyes now are on US. The investigation should be carry out to know those behind these plot. Nigeria is not safe because anything can happen particularly the so call muslim.

    • December 28, 2009 at 17:28

      Procrastination is the thief of time, I blamed the US Security agents for not doing enough to stop Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab from boarding the plane although they knew the whole plot before time. If that was the case, then it was useless for US- Security agents to have known this man before time. This convinced me to believe that US was secured when President George W. Bush was in power. Obama should wake up to do something in order to curb future terrorists’ attack and to deal ruthlessly with those extremists who don’t have any respect for human life.

  5. 9 James Loudermilk
    December 28, 2009 at 14:22

    Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab

  6. 10 Steve
    December 28, 2009 at 14:33

    The recent events of the 2 Nigerian men making attempts to damage aircraft on there way to the United States or for that matter to any country has nothing to do with them being Nigerian. It has everything to do with the failure of the countries involved issuing visa’s or passports to indivduals that don’t belong. This security breach was caused pure and simply by the failure of the United States and it’s higher concern for political correctness and not wanting to offend anybody. Same thing happened with the prelude up to 911. Many, many hints, clues, advice were given of the individuals had the potential to cause problems. IGNORED. After 911 you would think that with clues given that these men were not sqeaky clean were IGNORED and given visa’s to visit the United States is criminal. Homeland Security boost’s the system worked. No it didn’t. If the system worked and clue’s taken seriously……..these 2 Nigerian men never would have made it past Amsterdam in the first place. Same with Fort Hood killiongs. Had the warning signs been taken seriously, vs. more concern for political correctness………a lot of innocent people would be alive today. Compelling evidence proves who causes terrorist acts. It’s not the traveling grandma from florida. Time the United States Customs and Homeland Security begin zeroing in the real problem…….failure to prevent visa’s being issued, not trying to be Mr. Nice Guy.

    • 11 Mike in Seattle
      December 28, 2009 at 15:03

      It’s not an issue of political correctness because if we start racially profiling they simply find someone who doesn’t fit the profile.

  7. 12 Adepomola Kay
    December 28, 2009 at 14:45

    Blame US officials for carelessness & blame Northern Nigeria muslims for their fanatical behaviours because as I heard it on BBC, I told my friend (a muslim) that the guy must be a Northerner. Neglect our Information minister that Umar does not live in Nigeria, ask her if those that are killing we Christians in Nigeria not residing in Nigeria & lastly appreciate Umar’s father who reported his son because its rare for a wealthy Nigerian parent to do that.

  8. December 28, 2009 at 14:48

    We can be relieved that the Nigerian young man is still alive. He should be interviewed extensively (not interrogated, not tortured) so his psychology can better be understood.

    The hatred that is building for Western world culture must be explored deeply. Not enough to retaliate against it – what causes it? Are we so prolonged in our bullying that the victims are rising up?

    Our bullying is marked, perhaps, in valuing power and weaponry over humanity and humility. We’ve become inhuman, like the toy weapons-toting robots too many of our children receive at Christmas – my grandson being one.

  9. 14 Roy, Washington DC
    December 28, 2009 at 14:50

    I certainly don’t blame airport security. The TSA was formed as a kneejerk response to 9/11, and most of their asinine rules on things like liquids are kneejerk responses to things like the alleged plot from a few years ago targeting transatlantic flights. They’re already talking about new kneejerk responses to this, like “stay in your seat and keep your hands in your lap for the last hour of the flight”.

    It’s security theater. This isn’t how you keep people safe. The TSA merely provides the illusion of safety; it likely won’t stop someone that knows what they’re doing. As an American citizen and taxpayer, I’m getting rather tired of this charade. We need airport security, sure, but the TSA is (to put it nicely) highly incompetent.

  10. December 28, 2009 at 14:51

    Anti-terrorism measures have to be fine-tuned to prevent desperate terrorists from slipping through the tight net. Of course tighter vigilance with greater coordination between anti-terrorism agencies will be paramount, one should not fault anti-terrorism agencies unfairly. One has to realise how many attempts they have foiled so far.Counter- terrorism intelligence measures, especially when dealing with non-state actors, are extremely complex. We need to give credit to the Intelligence Agencies for making the world a safer place in spite of the odds. But vigilance is the responsibility of every citizen. Terrorism is like a cancer which needs to be contained as effectively as possible!

  11. 16 John in Salem
    December 28, 2009 at 14:51

    Those who knew him had no idea he was going to do this. All he had done was talk radical Islam which in itself is not a crime. I suppose if his teachers had seen a pathological level of obsession they could have recommended mental health services but you can’t lock up an adult unless they demonstrate a danger to themselves or others.
    As for making it onto the plane it’s like they say – locks are for honest people. If there’s a will…

  12. 17 Mark Longton
    December 28, 2009 at 14:52

    I do think we allow extremism and terrorist provoking views to gain legitimacy in our schools and universities. If this were not the case, when this young man had arrived at University College London he may have had more chance of meeting constructive people who would have helped encourage him to become an advocate for constructiveness in the world rather than the sorry path he ended up following which led him to the point of trying to murder hundreds of innocent passengers on an airplane.

  13. 18 Mike in Seattle
    December 28, 2009 at 14:58

    Maybe I’m strange, but I blame the syringe bomber. There is only so much that security can do, and that unless we wish to travel unconscious, naked and shackled in cages, there will always be some risk to flying.

    What we need to do is understand that this fact. For some reason we Americans are more than happy to drive our beloved cars, yet 30,000 people die on the roads each year. Given the relative risk per mile traveled, flying is still one of the safest ways to travel.

    We as a people need to look at the facts, learn some statistics, and be thankful that this bombing didn’t work.

    Silly things like racial/ethnic profiling won’t work because it’s trivial to either find someone who doesn’t fit the profile, or to simply hide a bomb in someone else’s bags.

  14. 20 Dan
    December 28, 2009 at 15:30

    How strange that some including talking heads on TV have called the Syringe Bomber a “hero” because he exposed lapses in the system.
    Do we not understand what we are fighting?

  15. 21 ch
    December 28, 2009 at 15:40

    Who do i blame for the syringe bomber? Well, the syringe bomber. Who do I blame for letting him fly into the states. The Department of Homeland Security. Why did they let him fly? Because Afghanistan looks even more ‘necessary’ now.

  16. 22 steve
    December 28, 2009 at 15:41

    Who do I blame for the syringe bomber? He himself I blame. And I don’t care to understand why he did it. I don’t care what his gripe is, all I care about is that he tried to destroy a plane with 280 people on it.

    If I had tried that, nobody would care “why” I wanted to do it. I would just be condemned, put on trial, and convicted if the finder of facts find beyond a reasonable doubt that I committed the crime. Time for more condemnation, and less “understanding”

  17. 23 Chintan in Houston
    December 28, 2009 at 15:48

    I was always under the impression that poor/uneducated people were involved in terrorist activities than the more effluent/well educated people around the world. This event is therefore a shocker since Umar Farouk came from a wealthy family and was well educated; that too in UCL.
    Athough he was educated with western values he had terrorist tendencies as a little kid. This makes me believe that his action is just a sign of individual despair rather than a broader conspiracy theory.
    So in this case, I wouldn’t blame anyone but the accused.

  18. December 28, 2009 at 16:11

    We should recognize the fact that extremists are so smart that they can create extreme methods to destabilize the world around them. Whether they succeed or not, at least they create fear whose radiation is similar to that of a mega nuclear bomb.

    They have the power of persuasion to show their converts and followers that what is black is white and what is white is black.

    The case of the Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab shows that young people are easy targets by the extremists who find little difficulty in indoctrinating them and using them as live weapons for their terror acts. Fighting extremism necessitates fighting the machinery behind it and this can prove difficult as there are those who like to mark their existence by destroying the existence of the others or making it a hell for them.

  19. 25 Cathy, Singapore
    December 28, 2009 at 16:18

    The airports concerned have body scanners & sniffer dogs…so why were they not fully in use? Could it be a question of complacency? Passengers are already paying quite a bit extra for airport security so there’s obviously a lax in these areas that needs to be addressed.

    And why weren’t forewarnings and concerns (by his own father) to potentially dangerous behaviour be taken more seriously by the authorities? Until its almost too late.

    More foresight, better communication & proper planning (rather than hindsight) is truly required to prevent such situations from repeating itself.

  20. December 28, 2009 at 16:26

    I believe he boarded the plane at Amsterdam,why are we blameing American security? It is not difficult to search a person thoroughly(other than internally)but then we have x-rays for that,don’t we.The shoe bomber was not Nigerian or middle eastern,he was homegrown British,everyone needs to be searched.And that might include the pilot,co-pilot and cabin staff,especially after Fort Hood! And if you don’t like that,go and find yourself another job.I think all the blame rests totally with fundamentalist Islam and manic clerics,hell bent on controlling everything.I say to moderate muslims,”Silence is consent”.Let us hear your voice,let us see your protests,and we may begin to believe you are moderate.No one is trying to subdue Islam.

    • 27 Iain
      December 29, 2009 at 05:16

      Pilots are being wound up by security at a time when they should be calm and in control, ready to react to any danger be it flight or terrorist.

      I must ask a security guard what good confiscating sharp objects from pilots is given that they a) have access to an axe in the cockpit (standard kit) and b) are in complete control of the 60 ton missile otherwise known as the airplane.

      If the pilots or pilots want to crash the plane, they can, they do not need to have nail scissors or sharp objects to do it.

  21. 28 Gary Paudler
    December 28, 2009 at 16:36

    Roy’s right, all the security procedures we go through at the airport are designed to provide the illusion of security; we satisfy ourselves with many illusions – prosperity, freedom, health, safety – while demanding or creating for ourselves no real substance. One misguided young man does not put the lie to our principles regarding poverty, religion, security or anything else. If Obama and Napolitano are saying that quick-thinking civilians are part of our security system, then yes, it worked. I guess now we have to bomb and invade Nigeria, Yemen and Holland and might as well go ahead and finish-off Detroit.

  22. 29 archiblad
    December 28, 2009 at 17:00

    Unfortunately, the blame lies in the lap of the bomber. I agree with those who say that there is only so much that can be done to prevent determined people from committing acts of terrorism. Praise should be lauded on fast acting passengers and flight attendants in thwarting this young mans efforts. If government agencies, charged with our “security”, would better educate and empower civilians instead of relying on them to remain dependent, complicit and perpetually waiting for direction, maybe everyone would feel safer. It is arrogant of the US. security services to assume that they can anticipate that 1%, 100% of the time. It must be a group effort, worldwide.

  23. December 28, 2009 at 17:13

    I read with interest the varied remarks on who is to blame and why, but surely who benifits by these actions? not the people sat on those planes under attack, or other inocents in cities around the world who these fanatics target. The schism in west verses eastern idea is always good to throw in, but is it the right one, I think not. Most I think want to live in peace, but some of any population are easy pray for those with the siren voices constantly whiping up passions. Inciting hatred, but hiding thier vested interests. Religion, oil, terratorial ambitions and the multitude of other reasons and of course the profesional malcontents who if owned the word would still want more. Look no further than Bin Laden a man who wanted a war but was unsure with whom for may years, until he fixed on the U.S. and could not develop a good argument there for some time. But now he has convinced his followers who satan is and why they should die for his ideals! As for protecting aircraft and our cities, we have no chance, it’s like chasing shadows. With the movement of such vast amounts of people one tiny packed is impossible to stop, we have the technology to reduce the chances, but eliminate altogether, never. We need to strip naked these people masquerading as campaigners for the people for what they realy are.

  24. 31 Bruce - Texas
    December 28, 2009 at 17:18

    I think they should re institute air marshals, or allow private citizens with concealed carry permits (in America) to carry on airplanes.

    • 32 Iain
      December 29, 2009 at 05:20

      Oh yeah, great idea.

      what happens when your carrying citizen a) shoots a window in a pressurised plane at 30,000 feet, or b) has a columbine moment.

  25. 33 Alan in Arizona
    December 28, 2009 at 17:18

    I guess the new question we will be hearing as we wait in line for screening will be, “How would you like your Whole Body Search, Sir? Human or Machine!”

    Personally I’m surprised he was able to get something like PETN on a plane in Amsterdam. I flown out a few times from there and the security is tight.

    I can only imagine what will happen during the future flights.

    Blame goes straight to the Bomber! Period! If for nothing else than being a fool to let himself be brain washed or programed by someone to waste his life.

  26. 34 Elias
    December 28, 2009 at 17:52

    The prime reason for the security failure is the fact that passengers leaving from airports such as in Nigeria and other similar countries do not scrutinise and check travellers securely and accordingly they are able to board the plane in this case a KLM flight to Amsterdam so that when this Nigerian indevidual simply arrives in Scipol Airport in Amsterdam to change flights, he does not again go through the security procedure but simply proceeds to the North West Airlines aircraft and is considered to be processed accordingly. He predetermined his plan in a round about way knowing it was his best chance in not being detected.
    The changing of flights was the key for him to circumvent and successfully board the flight to Detroit.
    In order to correct the failure in security, passengers should and must go through
    the security procedure each and every time they arrive at an airport before they change airlines and is allowed to continue to their destinations.
    As to how much resposibility does the would-be bomber accept, very simply if the same happened in a country like China, he would have been arrested and tried quickly and shot in a matter of days.
    There is no two ways about it any one can be brainwashed, wether young or old to do the nastiest of terrorist acts and feel they are right in doing so.

    • 35 Iain
      December 29, 2009 at 05:22

      Correct, rather than subject us all to such intense procedures they should merely ensure that passengers coming from nigeria etc passing through airports on route, should be re-assessed/checked at the transfer airport.

  27. 36 archiblad
    December 28, 2009 at 18:04

    Dan, I doubt that anyone, except those with similar intentions, is calling this boy a “hero”. Where do you get your information, dare I ask? Why is it always about “us” and “them”? “We” all have to live in this world and events like this would occur less frequently if we all started acting like it and stopped using every terrorist act as a way to increase the divide and mistrust between people. There are always going to be terrorists, as we are a flawed species, but, that 1% should not dictate the conduct of the other 99%.

  28. 37 Insan Mukmin
    December 28, 2009 at 18:22

    Alas, it is simply a matter of time before the terrorists perfect their bombing techniques. Soon each passenger will have to strip naked and undergo a body cavity search before they will be allowed to board a plane.

    • 38 Iain
      December 29, 2009 at 05:23

      If that’s true then I want to fly out of Naples airport more often, there is the most attractive security guard there, long dark hair petite but not too petite……..

  29. 39 amnaturelle
    December 28, 2009 at 18:23

    The bomber is to blame for his own actions. But I refuse to tolerate the ever increasing restrictions on my personal freedoms as a result of governments’ reactive policies. Are airlines really going to tell a child he cannot use the toilet if he really, really needs to go? If extremists want to commit violent acts they will find a way regardless of whatever ridiculous restrictions are put in place by a government agency. They do this by persistently testing the barriers, looking for holes using individuals particularly inclined to (or susceptible to the fallacies of) their extreme ideology. Such is the problem with religion.

  30. 40 Tom in the U.S.A.
    December 28, 2009 at 18:24

    The system worked. The bomber was not able to get a bomb that works through the system. What he got through was not enough to cause an explosion.

  31. 41 t
    December 28, 2009 at 18:24

    Part of the problem here is the Stateside out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality. As long as the govt. kills the terrorists, we the public don’t want to think about it.

    Now what? That blissful ignorance doesn’t work anymore. Does anyone worldwide use Israeli-style security? Could the public cope with being under that 24-hour-a-day stress?

    And, all of these really cool measures cost money. The Chinese govt. is still the State’s biggest creditor. Which means that the Chinese are paying for U.S. security.

  32. 42 Mike in Seattle
    December 28, 2009 at 18:27

    Look, we have had maybe half a dozen of these events happen in the past decade, out of tens of millions of flights. Why are we all so concerned about this when tens of thousands die on the roads, and many more die from the use of small arms all over the world?

    We all need to stop and ask why this story in particular worries so many of us when at the same time many have no problems getting into a car and driving to work.

  33. 43 steve
    December 28, 2009 at 18:28

    Given we always hear that the reason for Islamic terrorism is Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, or US forced being in the middle east. This guy is Nigerian. From Africa. Can someone please explain to me how this is Israel’s fault? Or perhaps you might stop making excuses for terrorists finally?

  34. 44 Alan in Arizona
    December 28, 2009 at 18:30

    @ Bruce!

    I don’t know if I’d allow citizens with guns on the plane. They would have to stop serving alcohol and they would have to train those citizens on dealing with stressful situations. Stray bullets in a plane might cause a few problems with staying in the air. Yes now we have shot the terrorist, the passenger behind him or her and cracked the window.

    Yeah! Arm the passengers! This would be a bright idea! NOT!

    A concealed weapons permit does make a person, right, intelligent or capable trained for that type of situation!

    Let’s do a sci-fi type thing and have everyone wear shock collars with everyone get hit when only one person says the wrong thing. Who needs guns when the flight crew can have their own flopping entertainment!

  35. 45 t
    December 28, 2009 at 18:40

    The measures put into effect by the Previous Administration are still in effect.

    Despite this, would Obama use his current powers and say, right. From now on we’ll do ANYTHING we have to to protect the public. Can he do this?

    Yes he can. The current rules are wriiten in the broadest possible way. Which means that if he wanted to, he could start this tomorrow. And nobody could do anything about it.

    Keep in mind Obama aways wanting to compromise. Would he suddenly have a tough-guy image? I’d be very surprised if he did.

  36. 46 Steve in Montana
    December 28, 2009 at 18:46

    If this is one of those incidents where the CIA sells an extremist bunk explosives, follows their movements and then apprehends them after the attempted attack only to secure enough evidence for conviction, it needs to be released to the public.

  37. 47 Venkat in North carolina
    December 28, 2009 at 19:00

    The 250 odd passengers and crew members who were not blown to smithereens and are alive today because the detonator did not work and not because the United States security system worked.
    Janet Nepolitano should accept responsibility for the total failure of the system and resign with immediate effect.

  38. 48 Gene
    December 28, 2009 at 19:15

    @ David Price UK:

    You are absolutely correct in my opinion! First of all, I blame Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, for he is the guilty one. Secondly, I would think the security at the Amsterdam airport should be questioned as opposed to the Detroit airport security. I am unfamiliar with the Amsterdam airport security process, and for all I know they did a good job but Mutallab outsmarted security, but I do not see how the US should be held accountable.

  39. 49 Robert Macala
    December 28, 2009 at 19:19

    With American troops spread out all over the Middle East and the continuing
    Israel/Palestinian conflict, and perhaps a future violent clash with Iran,
    we can expect a continued, perhaps eternal, crisis in world travel and much
    more. We keep talking about the effects without talking about the causes.
    We are victims of “Political correctness” we can’t talk about the causes because
    it’s a sacred Cow…America is already spending nearly 700 billion a year on
    National Defense…and boarding a plane is still a menacing experience…

  40. 50 Kacey
    December 28, 2009 at 19:22

    I blame the radical Islamists that convince these young men and women that god wants them to kill in his name. They are the cause of these attacks. If more moderates would rise up against the extremist ideologies where they are being taught then we would really start to make progress.

    Mark Longton: We have the same problems with the schools here in the U.S. The problem rests with the issue of what is extremism, short of an obvious call to arms, and who defines it?

  41. 51 Shannon in Ohio
    December 28, 2009 at 19:23

    This young man was a child who enjoyed considerable advantages– and his own accomplished father reported him as a threat. This is at once a private family tragedy–and a global story. If anything, that is what defines our age–the fact that these two formally separate spheres have now intersected.

  42. 52 joao cruz
    December 28, 2009 at 19:35

    Who do I blame? The “syringe bomber” himself, obviously! Unless he is mentally ill. And on a second and last line of responsabilization, all kinds of radicalized thought, be it political or religious.

    João Cruz

  43. 53 Ahmed Abdikadir
    December 28, 2009 at 19:37

    The extremist christian west is to blame. The sooner they recognize their actions are the root cause the better. Muslims identify themselves with other muslims terrorised by christian nations. Ahmed, KENYA.

  44. 55 Meredith / USA
    December 28, 2009 at 19:37

    I blame the bomber, he hid the material in his underpants.

  45. 56 Josiah Soap
    December 28, 2009 at 19:39

    The security people are stretched to their limits by political correctness, making sure for every muslim or arabic looking person searched, the same or more whites and christians are also searched so not to offend anyone.

    This may be the root cause – not enough staff. Instead of employing more staff, or checking more people, there should be religious and ethnic profiling. All muslims and arabic/african looking people should be searched. Who cares if they are offended, saving lives is the goal here, not avoiding offence.

    Terrorists must be having a field day at the disruption they,re causing, because of the stupid political correct westerners. When whites, orientals, hindu’s buddhists or christians start becoming suicide bombers then we’ll profile them too.

    I am annoyed that I have to be delayed during travel by some religious nut and yet our governments still pander to them. I’m all in for discrimination if it saves lives and reduces inconvience. I bet if more airlines did profiling more people would choose to fly with them. An open conversation where we can speak the truth without some PC leftie screaming racist would be great

  46. 57 Chintan in Houston
    December 28, 2009 at 19:39

    How can anyone blame security at Amsterdam airport. Obviously, most people who do make this judgement have not travelled internationally with a flight change at some other airport other than the destination.
    You only go through security at the origin not at every airport you land in.
    Imagine flying from LA to NYC and a stop in chicago where they search you and ask to check in the luggage. That might be safe thing to do, but imagine the pain of going through this.

    • 58 Tim in ATL
      December 28, 2009 at 20:34

      I fly to and from Amsterdam on business several times each year, with my last flight Dec 18th . At the gate a security officer greets you and examines your passport and asks questions on where you have been,where you are going,what you have. Once you “pass” inspection you go through the metal dectector. After 9/11, the security was much tighter, with pat down personal inspections, and random bag checks. Recent reports say that the explosives were in his underwear, none of the current inspection methods in place would have found the materials

  47. December 28, 2009 at 19:44

    I blame the Islamic religion. This is because it has failed to govern itself. For example Pakistan has been funding/fuelling Islamic militant groups for decades. Partly to counter India power and partly due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: Iran is now doing the same. So the world is facing this backlash from the Islamic world which allows its clerics to preach such hated. So I blame the Islamic religion for failing to control its own believers.

    • 60 Tim
      December 28, 2009 at 20:28

      Must disagree with you, it is not Islam, but an element within Islam that is the force behind the radicals and their agenda. Within the leadership, the clerics that preach hate must be contained within and the true leaders must speak out against them that preach hate. To quote Edmund Burke: All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men (and women) do nothing.

  48. 61 Alex
    December 28, 2009 at 19:44

    I don’t understand how everyone can immediately blame airport security. Has a plane been blown up since 9/11? Obviously the billions of dollars spent on security have had some effect.

    Yes, there was a close call. What I want to know is why everyone seems to forget the threats that have been thwarted over the past years. The system works. Obviously not perfectly, but what system IS perfect?

  49. 62 stephen/portland
    December 28, 2009 at 19:46

    How the hell could this guy travel with a one-way ticket?
    He would have needed a Visa to travel, so who issued it to him?

    Once again all the agencies have failed and no one is willing to take responsibility.

    I guarantee no one will step down over this.

    • 63 Iain
      December 29, 2009 at 05:35

      I’m afraid Obama and your guys are not to blame. Nigerian security was at fault, as was political correctness. We should screen people traveling in from these laps countries at each airport they transfer through.

  50. 64 koshik
    December 28, 2009 at 19:46

    If his motive was to blow up the plane why wouldn’t he ignite the bomb while remaining in the rest room without being bothered by anybody?

  51. 65 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    December 28, 2009 at 19:49

    I’m getting so tired of hearing the rest of the world blame the US for the “syringe” bomber. Considering the US and Britain are the countries most active in trying to control such terrorism I think people in other countries should spend time lobbying their OWN governments to get us increased help with our security endeavors. Two countries can’t be expected to control for every single terrorist threat, this specific episodes only emphasizes my point.

  52. 66 Chintan in Houston
    December 28, 2009 at 19:50

    He was on the ‘watch’ list. There are over 500,000 people on the watch list according to a Home Land security estimate as reported by CNN and 4500 on the no-fly list.
    This list is not shared between countries. Isn’t this the easiest thing to do in terms of airport security?
    Sometimes even departments between the US government don’t share information. Isn’t that pathetic?

  53. 67 chip johns
    December 28, 2009 at 19:50

    Do we have to assign blame to a body? There is a collective responsibility to deal with this. No system is infallible and with billions of pieces of data flying around the world everyday we have no real system to analyze it all. History shows that without the suspension of democracy there will never be a way to stop this. While we pursue liberal democracy we are open to the negative aspects of humanity.

  54. 68 mike rosenbaum
    December 28, 2009 at 19:53

    I’m very very
    angry with our government both the Bush and Obama
    administrations for lulling the public to sleep with
    the idea that our security services have been reformed
    since the events of 2001:that they communicate with one another,that the turf wars are over, and that some-
    how we are now secure.Where is the individual responsibility of people at the US embassy in Nigeria
    to report potential problems directly to security
    personnel?When Nidal attacked our troops at Fort Hood,
    where was the individual responsibility of the doctors
    who knew this guy to pursue investigation of him instead of “kicking the can down the road”??M

  55. 69 Lola
    December 28, 2009 at 19:58

    One man decides to commit suicide, something that is by the way so out of character if you know anything at all about Nigerians. What happens if it is a US citizen who decides to blow up a Us flight full of mostly Americans? I wonder. It simply psychological problems on the rise, nothing to do with muslims nothing to do with Nigeria, why is this even a debate, it is very clear the American embassy failed to do thier job and they’re passing blames

  56. 70 Tasha in Oregon
    December 28, 2009 at 19:59

    That guy who says racial profiling is the answer is an idiot. And, for the record, as an American, I don’t mind at all standing in line at the airport. People should be randomly searched. Racial profiling doesn’t work because a) it’s racist and based on subjectivity and b) there IS no profile for suicide bombers.

    I say the failure is entirely with the American intelligence community. They were warned and they didn’t follow up.

  57. 71 stephen/portland
    December 28, 2009 at 20:02

    The airport at Amsterdam is a major hub to the Middle East and most of the countries that have a big problem with the west connect there and therefore I think it deserves more scrutiny. But of course this is not politically correct.

  58. 72 Venkat in North carolina
    December 28, 2009 at 20:12

    What people are forgetting here is the conventional security screening such as the metal detectors adopted around the world is not designed to detect explosives such as the PETN. This man would have walked through any security unless ofcourse he was stripped down and thouroughly checked or used more sophisticated methods such as Chomotography or Puffer machines.
    The US embassy was informed of this man by his own father a couple of months ago and the Homeland Security did not upgrade this man’s status from the bottom of the watch list to the no-fly list. This was a total failure of the US sercurity system, We dropped the ball on this one. Pure and simple.

  59. December 28, 2009 at 20:14

    There is no point in blameing Nigerians or Nigeria.Place the blame on the poisoness minds that poison the weaker and easily led minds.

  60. 74 Tim
    December 28, 2009 at 20:17

    Responsibility of an action belongs with the person who acts of free will to commit an action. Who do I blame for his actions in addition ? The people or persons who led him to believe that murder is justified, and killing innocent persons for whatever reason is acceptable. Too many people are led astray by perverters of religion, where instead of a message of mercy,understanding and love, only hate and us vs. them, with them to be destroyed is taught.

  61. 75 steve
    December 28, 2009 at 20:18

    If his motive was to blow up the plane why wouldn’t he ignite the bomb while remaining in the rest room without being bothered by anybody?

    Because the explosion would be more contained. The closer you are to the pressure hull, the more damage you can do.

  62. 76 Khalid
    December 28, 2009 at 20:22

    I am a Muslim professional living in the States with multiple advanced degrees, a very “liberal” lifestyle and just as disgusted by Islamic radicalism as anyone else. By any standards, I am the “moderate” Muslim that all the white people (in Europe and US) want to “speak out” against terrorism because as they wrongly assert, silence means I must be endorsing terrorism. The question I ask is this, how do you suppose I “speak out”??? I do it every day as in an individual but to be then categorized in an imaginary group of Muslims who are “silent” is very upsetting to me. We are not silent! Moderates Muslims have been killed by extremists ever since I can remember. For instance, throughout the eighties, thousands of teachers educated moderate Muslims in the villages of Afghanistan got killed and beheaded for voicing their views.

    When Christian extremists kill innocent doctors who perform abortions, or blow up Federal buildings in the States, I don’t expect every Christian I encounter to denounce those terrorists. I take it for granted that as human beings, they would. Why should a different standard then apply to Muslims?? Let me just say it for the majority of Muslims: we do not support terrorism against anyone. Why should we when terrorism has taken more Muslim lives than all non-Muslims combined. So please, don’t alienate people like me who feel about terrorism the same way as any other normal human being would.

  63. December 28, 2009 at 20:23

    nobody knows the son more than the father and the father had said that this Judas of a son should be watched and the other apostles did nothing about it until this son appeared with a bomb in this land of freemen. the question remain, did the father of this young man inform the Nigeria security about his son’s out of track activities, has Britain become a breeding ground for elite and middle class terrorists. America is just one country and nobody should expect them to fight this battle alone. this guy passed through Lagos to Amsterdam undetected…if every country put a little bit effort on fighting this war, the world would be a safer place. Pls blame not Obama’s administration .

    footnote: the Nigerian politicians and elites should try and build their country so that there children will go to school where the parents can monitor their activities.

  64. 78 stephen/portland
    December 28, 2009 at 20:28

    This is the truth about how America works.

    Some guy of middle eastern background gets extra attention at the airport, he complains and he takes his case to a Ambulance chasing lawyer, the ACLU get to hear about it and they through there support behind him, then the press pick up on it and blow it up to be “torture at the Airport”, He takes it to court and gets a Gazillion bucks in pain and suffering and then the Tsa is accused of racial profiling so the people on the Security team are bombarded with a bunch of new rules and are re trained accordingly on “How to be sensitive to people of multi racial backgrounds when traveling Edition 445” and the system goes on.

    Then I find myself sitting next to some bloke with his DEATH TO AMERICA T Shirt staring blankly ahead and reciting the Koran.

    Then I wonder how did we get here?

    This is all fictional but everything I wrote is a possibility and that’s why I have no confidence in this system.

    December 28, 2009 at 20:54

    Here lies one who is victim to ignorance. He is a casualty of his generation who now rely on gut feelings rather than reasoning. Still he has a convictions that should be addressed. The Alqaeda did not have his type (black Africa) as its prefered perpetrator of homicide; meaning they are now working with all variables. Alqaeda changes its tactics all the time. The concerned security agents should keep watch but should realize that what you think is the partern can change. To defeat Alqaeda will have to take other things into consideration.
    There are corruptible persons in the airports else why did he pass through as innocent? It is possible that there are other corrupt scums ran by people who should know and who we cannot suspect. Finger pointing as to the weaknesses of others though is not the answer. It was the festive season too whereby someone knew that it was the easiest time when evil plots can be sneeked in. Despite the data bank why did the Americans not act in time before the incident. It takes us back to 911.

  66. 80 Insan Mukmin
    December 28, 2009 at 21:41

    This proves that Al-Qaeda is winning the psychology war. Ask how many Muslims in this world support the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Less than 10%. Ask how many Muslims support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank? Less than 1%. The non-discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the US’s blind support for Israel has made much of the Islamic world believe that the US is the enemy of Islam and unfortunately the US is unable to claim otherwise.

  67. 81 Ngwuebo Monday
    December 28, 2009 at 22:14

    It is a shocking information for me to hear this, but i will rather start to comment on the parent and teacher of this devil incanate. Having suspected such attribute in him enough actions ought to have been taken, even to get him arrested and reminded and probably sanction or ristrict his movement.Would he had succeeded in his mission, will our word be sweet in our mouth? we are still in the pain of september 11 attack,this problem should concern every ones in our societies. Also it is a challenge to both security agencies for them to rise up to the challenge and never relent in their effort.Ido listen to bbc everyday and Ihaven’t commented on any issue but this is terrifying seing he is called a Nigerian of 23years old.Monday Ngwuebo from nigeria.

  68. December 28, 2009 at 22:45

    The attempt of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab to kill innocent people again is fearful, however, we should not be devided by this. What I suggest is, let us draw lesson from this and put in place measures which will avoid such from happening. One thing wicked people do is, they sit, observe and plan in advance their evil deals. Later, they apply those plans on innocent people. Therefore, it is not important to put blame at the door of a particular national, religious group or whatever, let’s keep think of better ways to stop them. We shall prevail.

  69. 83 GTR5
    December 28, 2009 at 22:50

    The wannabe bomber is to blame and must be held responsible for his actions. However, Janet Napolitano is totally clueless, incompetent and pathetic and should be fired. She can’t handle or run the department or anything else.

  70. 84 Thomas Murray
    December 28, 2009 at 22:56

    Oddly enough, James Cameron’s “Avatar” puts a whole new spin on our meddling in the Middle East:– It takes place on foreign soil, amid an indigenous population which, despite its tenth century technology, exhibits morally superior culture, who dwells, unfortunately, atop valuable petrolithic mineral deposits, and who resents the better-armed, brutally misguided humans depleting the planet’s only potable natural resource.

    By the end of the movie I was rooting for the Arabs … er … I mean, the aliens.

    But seriously, “Avatar” is obvous allegory for a touchy subject: One man’s terrorist is another mans’ freedom fighter.

    On the other hand, I’m currently reading “The Koran” (the N. J. Dawood version), and so far — especially after the chapter about religious tolerance — it seems that Osama bin Laden, Farouk Mutallab and the other Islamic extremists have only been studying the “Koran for Dummies” — skin deep, over-simplified, and offering insight into nothing.

    –Lousiville, Kentucky, US.

  71. 85 Emma
    December 28, 2009 at 23:03

    Extreme religious teaching is all about the extreme religious views, I will blame the teachers.

  72. 86 Tom K in Mpls
    December 28, 2009 at 23:19

    I blame him. He was a nut case looking for an event. It can and has taken many forms. Suicide ( US, late ’80s ), shooting rampage ( US & Germany, 1990 – ) or stating a jihad ( Africa, US, Middle East, 2001- ). The US spends waaay to much on bad security measures and is a bit lax on what works. But there is only so much that can be done. Face it folks, life *is* a risk!

  73. December 28, 2009 at 23:58

    do we have to blame somebody;surely the blame lies in the system of checking, so why get someone who’s just obeying the rules ?

  74. December 29, 2009 at 00:05

    talking of watch lists most of the time the F.B.I. does as it says and hopes for the best;if this guy was or any other get on a watch list the F.B.I.will tail them hoping to get bigger fish in the hope nothing untoward happens before.

    • 89 Tom K in Mpls
      December 29, 2009 at 22:50

      The ‘big fish’ mentality has been failing in all US law enforcement. We leave their infrastructure for a headline bust. Then a new headline comes from the rest of the system. It is time to learn.

  75. 90 Roberto
    December 29, 2009 at 00:29

    RE “” This suggests that there has been a breakdown in the U.S. intelligence network. “”

    ———- Big D-U-H! Whole system has been busted for a long time.

    The unholy triad of Republican Congress, FAA, and the airlines conspired to scuttle improved airline security preceedures in advance of the 2000 elections because Al Gore was heading the blue ribbon panel making the recommendations.

    Just like the sham of the crooks that led the global financial derivatives market fraud are charged with fixing the economy by throwing taxpayer money at themselves, the same yahoos responsible for 9/11 are still bungling airport security.

    The only reason there haven’t been more tragedies is because of inept terrorism recruits like this scared boy who has never matured to where he could even support himself much less hatch a successful terrorist plot.

  76. 91 Graham Astley
    December 29, 2009 at 04:30

    Many people interviewed by the BBC seem to missing the main point. This man’s father was so concerned about his son’s apparent state of mind that he warned Nigerian and US officials. In spite of this, US officials granted him a visa to travel to the US. For goodness sake, what more was the father supposed to do? Sure there were lapses at Schipol airport but the man had a visa. This is nothing short of a huge US security failure and it’s about time US officials acknowledged this fact.

  77. 92 stephen/portland
    December 29, 2009 at 08:30

    One more point on this.

    If Richard Reid is the “shoe bomber” this clown will be knows as the “panty bomber”. Never thought of that did you genius?

  78. 93 wintergreen
    December 29, 2009 at 12:12

    I blame Gordon Brown. He obviously hasnt given enough of my money to Nigeria.
    Give them some more money Gordon, they may like you and stop trying to blow us up.

  79. 94 glenis
    December 29, 2009 at 12:55

    The police are to blame for the shringe bomber.

  80. 95 Ibrahim in UK
    December 29, 2009 at 13:32

    Who to blame for a crime? The criminal. The people who trained the criminal. The people who instructed him and facilitated his crimes. The people who convinced him that crime is the solution to whatever issues/emotions he has. These are the main blameworthy individuals since their intention was criminal.
    The fact that he slipt through the security process points to either a problem in the process or individual mistakes, no process is 100% failsafe, no individual is always on the ball.

    The crimes against Iraq, Palestine etc. create the hatred and anger and a desperation to “do something”. It makes it much easier for groups like Al-Qaeda to “sell” their preferred solution to these desperate people. They appear to be the only ones offering a solution.

    The world is in desperate need for genuine solutions to the ongoing injustices in the world. Injustices created by our own leaders. It is our duty in a democratic society to hold our leaders to account and demand action against injustice.

  81. 96 Robin C
    December 29, 2009 at 16:33

    Thankfully, no-one was killed or injured (this time) playing pin the tail on Umar, but what really is worrying is that short of the perpetrator wearing a t-shirt that says “Hi, I’m a terrorist”, you won’t get a better chance of catching one red-handed.

  82. 97 JanB
    December 29, 2009 at 17:45

    The fact of the matter is that there’s always gonna be some people that slip through, unless we become a police state.

    This time the flaw in the system was the corrupt Nigerian security checks (government members and their families are exempted from scans) and next time it will be something else.

  83. 98 jens
    December 29, 2009 at 18:08

    john mitchell
    December 29, 2009 at 00:05
    talking of watch lists most of the time the F.B.I. does as it says and hopes for the best;if this guy was or any other get on a watch list the F.B.I.will tail them hoping to get bigger fish in the hope nothing untoward happens before.

    how do you tail a dead suicid bomber and how much good will it do?

  84. 99 Josiah Soap
    December 29, 2009 at 19:27

    I wonder what the newscasters would have talked about if this hadn’t happened. Its all that’s been on the news for the past 3 days. Apparently there are already new security measures at airports. Maybe these will put people off flying and airlines will have to increase ticket prices to cover the extra security. I would say the terrorists have won. They didn’t need to kill a single person, following 911 and other unsuccessful attempts they have already disrupted our lives and the government and media continue to act as fearmongers telling us that terrorists are hiding under every bed.

  85. 100 t
    December 30, 2009 at 00:03

    When a U.S. consular or embassy visa official issues a visa, they can’t be overruled. Not even by Hillary Clinton (Sec. of State).

  86. 101 Dennis Junior
    December 30, 2009 at 06:05

    Honestly, the entire idea that NO-ONE in the Obama administration should not be blamed is insane…Because, there is enough blamed to go around…

    =Dennis Junior=

  87. 102 Alec Paterson
    December 30, 2009 at 10:04

    This jihadist was not a poor, lonely boy, but a very serious and devout Muslim. How is it that someone so committed to Islam could have misunderstood Islam so thoroughly as to think he had a religious duty to murder unbelievers? Actually, the catalyst is the religion. He is saying that he does everything within the limits of what is allowed in Islam. Without any change in the texts or tenets of Islam, this cancer will continue.

  88. 103 scmehta
    December 30, 2009 at 13:22

    The airports, all around the world, must screen their staff, managing and manning the air traffic on/in the fields of the duties involved. Even the best of the security is annulled or compromised, if any of the staff is untrustworthy or disloyal or holding extremist views/grudges.

  89. 104 steve
    December 30, 2009 at 15:30

    @ t

    That’s not at all accurate. I worked at a US consulate that dispensed non immigrant visas. All the visa does is allow the person to get on the plane to apply in person at the US border. The total determination is granted by the Customs/Border patrol people greeting you as you enter the USA. They can deny entry to someone who has a visa. The Visa is just the state department’s level stating that they possibly have overcome the presumption that they intend to remain premanently… Having a visa doesn’t guarantee entry, but it DOES allow you get onto the airplane. However with people bombing airplanes, it poses a risk. So are we going to need us Border control to be on active duty outside of the US like we have in Canada and Ireland, to prevent these people from even getting on the airplane?

  90. 105 Colin H. Abbott
    December 31, 2009 at 05:54

    Exploding underpants? Crikey! Just wait for someone to come up with exploding calamari … and then they’ll have to bring in the bomb squid!

  91. 106 Colin H. Abbott
    December 31, 2009 at 09:51

    I much preferred flying when the term “take-off” referred to something other than my boots and belt.

  92. 107 A R Shams
    December 31, 2009 at 17:32

    Home, school, social envirnments create a bad or a good person. Parenting/bringing up first, then schooling, companionship, social environment are the most responsible things for a child to become good or bad ultimately.

  93. 108 Not opiated by pseudo humanism
    January 3, 2010 at 20:00

    Islam and The Quoran.

  94. January 4, 2010 at 15:27

    I am writing further commentory about the syringe bomber that . I worked in airport security for a while. Hand searching people does not work as females use monthly period ware, should they be carriers for someone else that way is easy. Armpits and genitals are difficult to search because of varying sizes. As for the metal detectors most of the time they did not work so the were made to trip just to make them look like they did. Asians turbins were never search and females hair. They are all possible hideing places. Further more the security gets lacked and people are not searched properly then. The never ending queue of other nationalities and their different costumes also makes it difficult for a thorouugh search. These scanners do break down consistantly and people obivously are not told so there will never be good security at any time. Also the police to my knowledge never act on tip offs then when trouble comes they are never brought to justice as they should be. If Chief Inspectors were made responsible for their neglect people would not have to die. Glenis UK

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