By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network
We are now learning that a passenger subdued the alleged terrorist who was attempting to set off an incendiary device on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam that was descending to its scheduled Detroit Christmas Day destination. (The airplane has Delta markings, but Delta now owns Northwest and the flight in question was a Northwest flight.)
A passenger reportedly subdued the suspect, identified as University of College of London engineering student and Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The 23-year-old was burned in the incident and was taken to a hospital following his arrest on the plane after it landed.
President Obama ordered increased security at airports yesterday, and today at Detroit Metro Airport, there are longer-than-usual lines. Secondary security checks are reported at other airports across the nation.
The Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday that there would be additional security checks.
Abdulmutallab reportedly hid the chemicals that he was allegedly going to use to set off the device in a syringe. He allegedly procured them in Yemen - perhaps under orders from al Qaeda.
Earlier it was reported that Abdulmutallab was known to counter-terrorism officials. But it was later reported that - while his name had surfaced in connection with some investigation or investigations - he was not on any "watch list" that would have prompted additional airport screening. Nor was he on a "no-fly" list.
While there are some new answers today about yesterday's incident, there are still more questions.
Do airport security personnel have the capability to detect incendiary devices and - if they do - is it feasable or even possible to check every person and every piece of carried on baggage for them?
Are there disparities between security checks in the United States and those at other airports? How does the increased security we're seeing today in the United States deter this kind of a terrorist attempt on other international flights destined here?
Is it time to follow the Israeli lead of profiling passengers? Paltalk News Network security analyst Gary Moskowitz has long argued that random checks of passengers only serves as window dressing. That the United States should follow the Israeli lead of profiling passengers - so that those who are identified as more likely to be terrorists go through special additional screening.
What actual ties does Abdulmutallab have to al Qaeda? He reportedly has claimed that he is associated with the terrorist organization responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Was this a dry-run for another series of coordinated attacks like those? Or was this a singular attempt that - like that of the shoe bomber - failed and may never be attempted again?