Good grief, surely the French would not have done that on purpose.
As to his plea, absurd of course, and chicken-crap for any proud terrorist. As to a defense strategy (no way he cops a plea) well, there are already a rasher of conspiracy theories out there geared towards the CIA letting this occur for various reasons (perhaps that's what the administration was trying to say when they said "shocking") so it's possible they'll go that route hoping for a sympathetic juror. After all, it worked for Meir Kahane's killer in New York 20 years ago, although that was before we knew we were at war with bin Laden. Then again..
Meanwhile the human enigma Christopher Hitchens gave Michael Totten a good interview on what all this means. This sorta jumped out:
If Major Hasan were in the Turkish army, he would not have been offered a promotion after he lectured his fellow medical officers about how "we love death more than they love life." I don't think in Turkey he would have made it.The liberals might reply that America has a more diverse population and therefore we have to respect feelings to a higher degree, which is true to an extent under normal circumstances and normal people. For some reason though radical Muslims are to be ignored and tolerated for fear of offending while "radical" Christians are essentially free fire zones. Hitch calls it madness--but what else can be said when a country ignores or protects those who wish its destruction?
MJT: Nope. In Turkey he would not have made it.
Hitchens: But he made it in Texas. And nobody wanted to report him because it could have gotten them a black mark on their own dossier for possibly being an intolerant person. This is madness.
As to Mr. Abdulmattalob's future, well he's got a rich banker father, maybe he'll get off on a technicality and keep hope alive for a professorial career at a Chicago or New York university one day. Hey, he didn't kill anyone.
The White House presser, featuring Helen Thomas asking why they hate us, also featured some interesting replies from administration officials. Here's Janet all systems go Napolitano offering up even more silly rhetoric suitable for giving her more time with the family in reply to what was so shocking about their 253 report:
SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: I think, following up on that, not just the determination of al Qaeda and al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula, but the tactic of using an individual to foment an attack, as opposed to a large conspiracy or a multi-person conspiracy such as we saw in 9/11, that is something that affects intelligence. It really emphasizes now the renewed importance on how different intelligence is integrated and analyzed, and threat streams are followed through. And, again, it will impact how we continue to review the need to improve airport security around the world.This might make sense had there not been attacks in Little Rock and Fort Hood by Muslims who'd visited Yemen. It's amazing she can say this and get away with it. Now, here's Mr. Brennan answering a very good question about that very nexus:
MR. BRENNAN: On the issue of Mr. Awlaki, yes, we were very concerned after the Fort Hood shooting about what else he might be doing here. And that's why there was a very determined and concerted effort after that to take a look at what else he might be trying to accomplish here in the homeland.In other words, they were concerned about those with ties to al-Aulaqi but not necessarily shy scrawny Nigerian kids heading to America who were on the TIDES database. Speaking of which, another good question was asked (but not answered) about exactly when the DHS checked that TIDES database while the flight was en-route:
Now, remember, Mr. Abdulmutallab was a much different story in terms of a Nigerian who traveled to Yemen and then came over here. But what it clearly indicates is that there is a seriousness of purpose on the part of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to carry out attacks here in the United States -- whether they're reaching people through the Internet, or whether or not, in fact, they are sending people abroad.
Q Can we clear up a couple of things, either one of you? First of all, what was learned while the flight was underway? There have been a couple of stories suggesting that additional information came to light after the flight took off, and that Mr. Abdulmutallab was going to be questioned when he arrived. That's one.Emphasis to note a very nice catch by the reporter. They could actually say they checked the database en-route but only AFTER being notified of the incident, while the plane was technically still en-route. The ramifications of any kind of a weasel on that must have been so great as to cause her to skip it... too bad there was no follow-up.
SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: Why don't I answer that one? In Schiphol, his name did not appear on any terrorist screening watchlist. And so nothing pinged to keep him off of the plane. While in the air, Customs in Detroit has access to the entire TIDE database, and as we now all know that's the large mega-database; it has 500,000-plus names in it. And they knew he had a ping there, and so they were ready, when he landed in Detroit, to question him about that -- that ping against the TIDE database.
Q Before the attack?
SECRETARY NAPOLITANO: But the terrorist watchlist -- but the terrorist watchlist, the terrorist screening watchlist did not have his name on it.
But one thing is quite clear from this event--the press is starting to do its job. Has Obama lost them? Is that even possible?