Terror on Flight 253?

First reactions to a Nigerian man's alleged attempt to light a bomb on a Detroit-bound plane

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As Northwest Airlines flight 253 approached landing in Detroit this Christmas a Nigerian man allegedly tried to light an explosive device strapped to his leg. The suspect has claimed al-Qaeda ties, and federal officials are now calling it an attempted terrorist attack. Here are the first reactions to the implications of the incident:

  • Media Failure, writes Brian Selter. "Once again, MSNBC disappoints on a holiday when breaking news happens...I view Hurricane Katrina as the first major abdication of duty by the networks. Their standards have, shall we say, 'changed.'"
  • Here Comes Stepped Up Security, says Jake Tapper. "Following Northwest airlines incident, Dept Homeland Security says plane "Passengers may notice additional screening measures...official didnt want to get into what the beefed-up security measures will be - dont want to a) tip off bad guys or...(b) alarm folks if they dont seem the measures at their airport. different measures at diff airports, official said."
  • Domestic, Foreign Security Questions Loom, suggests Chuck Todd. "Contrary to some reports, there has been no raising of any official color alert levels, still on 'orange' for airport security. There will be increased security measures at airports, some of it will be noticeable to general public (think K9) some won't. So many angles to focus on regarding this incident but one that will get a lot of attention. Airport security in Africa vs. Europe vs. US."
  • A Tempest in a Teacup? asks Howard Kurtz. "Twitter is all over Northwest Airlines attack, holiday or not. Good job. If the airline attack had worked, it would dominate for weeks. Since the passengers foiled it, I wonder if it will be a 24-hour story."
  • Prompts a New Evaluation of Terrorism, writes The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder. Ambinder argues that the Obama administration will be thinking hard about its theory of terror, particularly in light of this year's Nidal Hasan shootings and the Najibullah Zazi plot. "What the Obama administration lacks now is a theory of terrorism. Maybe one doesn't exist in the real world; maybe the Bush administration's theory of terrorism exacerbated the problem. It is this administration's challenge to explain how their approach keeps us safer, and then to demonstrate that their approach keeps us safer."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.