Here’s what it sounds like happened: CNN tells Mediaite they paid a “licensing fee” for the exclusive cell phone image, which they have been using throughout the day. TVNewser reports, “Insiders tell us other networks are vying to buy the image for upwards of $10,000.”I happened to see the interview live on CNN and got the same strange feeling, especially after he started a conversation with someone off camera and tried to end the interview, almost as if there were handlers. But he's worked in showbiz. Some people know how to cash in.
CNN clarifies the network did not pay for the actual interview during CNN Newsroom. However, there’s a reason Schuringa has not appeared any further on CNN or any other network – we hear he has asked for additional payment for any future interviews.
The Flying Dutchman aside, there are some odors with this story. For instance, why would the State Dept. not pull the visa of a man placed on a terror list or place him on the no-fly list? The UK did. The NY Times explains that one doesn't always lead to the other, which makes sense, but at the same time his father told the US Embassy and Nigerian intelligence about his son's leanings six months ago.
Er, well maybe three months ago. Or according to the administration, a few weeks ago. The timeline is important since the father mentioned the son was going to Yemen. America just happens to be involved in a hot war in Yemen right now.
As such, one might think anyone remotely associated with Yemen would be watched like a hawk at the moment, especially those coming to the states, and especially since the Dept of Homeland Security has to clear everyone departing on international flights. Did Christmas have anything to do with someone's guard being down, if indeed it was? Clever thinking by the enemy, if so, along with underwear bombs.
And what of our electronic eavesdropping? His father went to the authorities after a text message was received. Recently acquired statements from Imam Aulaqi come to mind. Then there's this.
All of which may be easily explained. The US national security apparatus fights a daily battle of finding needles in haystacks and they can't possibly find everyone beforehand. Maybe it would be a good time for the Commander-in-Chief to come out and grab their backs and explain some things as he loves to do with almost everything else. After all, conclusion jumping is not productive, and we've done some good things of late in Yemen.
So much for my vacation from blogging. The president is doing a much better job keeping his intact (tee times) despite the Detroit event. Instapundit sums up some competing views as to whether Obama should make a statement, including Marc Ambinder:
Obama of course will say something at some point. Had the terrorist blown up the plane, it's safe to assume that Obama would no longer be in Hawaii. In either case, the public will need presidential fortification at some point. But Obama is willing to risk the accusation that he is "soft" on terrorism or is hovering above it all, or is just not to be bothered (his "head's in the sand, "golfing comes first," )in order to advance what he believes is the proper collective response to a failed act of terrorism.He's right, this is a strategy play. There would be nothing wrong with coming out to note and thank the hero passenger but that would also highlight that overseas contingencies might be coming onshore, not to mention the administration failure of letting this guy fly at all, so he's likely not going to be coming out. I think he should, but we're more likely to see another bombing run north of Sanaa (which is a good thing).
But I disagree on one point. Had the plane exploded and fallen out of the sky on approach it would not have immediately been called a terrorist attack. The POTUS might or might not speak, but if he did it would be to remind everyone about the hazards of jumping to conclusions. He would have likely remained on vaca in Hawaii. After all, surely it could have been wind shear or a spark in the fuel tank or some of Debbie Stabenow's AGW-induced turbulence (it was coming into Michigan, after all).