Read D.B. Grady's response to the undie-bomber report by the Obama administration. It tells it like it is. The Obama administration is just as incompetent in terror prevention as the Bush administration. But here's the basic point:
The White House blames Abdulmutallab's success on a failure to "connect the dots," but, in fact, the dots were already connected. There were no dots. We already had all the information necessary to shut down Abdulmutallab. No secret missions were in order. No covert bribes in cash-stuffed briefcases needed to change hands at disused bus stops. Delta operatives didn't have to to kick down doors, and there was no need to dust off the waterboard to draw out a name.
We knew everything.
Yes we did. This was emphatically not one of those terror attacks that we could not have seen coming. The huge amount of resources we have devoted to better security since 9/11 did their job: the dude was identified, exposed, and on a list. And the failure was not of a system. It was a failure of individual people in the system, people paid by you and me to do the job they manifestly failed to do. The failure was so profound that the president was only now assigning "specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high priority threats". Is he fucking kidding me? These people don't take personal responsibility for following through on threats? Which people? And why are they still employed? Grady:
The minute Abdulmutallab's father walked into a U.S. Embassy with news that his son was a potential terrorist, the official in charge was duty-bound to see this through. Every scrap of paper and every byte of data on the suspect should have been called up and frozen. That's why we have embassies. When the information was passed to the first special agent at the CIA, he or she was duty bound to see it through. When the information was passed to the first administrator at the National Counterterrorism Center, he or she, too, was duty bound to see it to the end.
Everyone who read the name "Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab" prior to December 25, 2009 should be reprimanded and fired.
Amen. And the rank failure to do so, the closing of ranks, the blaming of the "system", the faux-responsibility: this is one reason many of us found the Bush administration's hubris unacceptable. The hubris now is, however, identical.
Fire every single person who allowed this to happen, identify them publicly, explain what they did wrong. Then I'll believe Obama is serious and can run the government. But right now, in this area, the government is running him.