...The day the Nigerian groin-bomber flamed out, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano fatuously proclaimed, "The system worked." Interviewed by network news this morning, she backed away from that statement, saying she was -- and I paraphrase -- referring to the system of inconveniencing air travelers even more in the interest of security theatre, which kicked in almost immediately. Yay, hooray, air travel will suck even more and even fewer people will bother to fly.
Yet in a way, she was right. A "system" no bureaucrat -- certainly no DHS secret policeman -- would notice did work. While official reaction to the intel stage was weak, it should be noted the nitwit's own father (and, presumably, co-religionist) thought his son was lookin' a little jihadist around the gills and wrote to his government and to ours in warning. (Stop and think about that'n for a moment; it's a good sign). The active-intervention stage worked very well -- seeing something out of the ordinary, Dutch tourist Jasper Schuringa said his first thought wasn't to signal a flight attendant or wait for an air marshal to break cover, but rather, "He's trying to blow up the plane."
"I basically reacted directly," Schuringa said Saturday in an interview with CNN. "I didn't think. I just jumped. I just went over there and tried to save the plane."
Best line I've seen so far: "Aggressive intervention [in commercial air travel] has become the new societal norm." Air Marshals? Ms. Napolitano, we're all Air Marshals now.
The official attempts at protection failed; the amateur efforts, thanks to a very large dollop of luck, succeeded.
2 weeks ago