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December 29th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Failed attack ignites debate over security

When President Obama spoke out on the terrorism scare in Detroit he entered a debate that had already begun over his administration's new approach to combating terrorism. Our Jim Acosta has the report.

Filed under: Politics • Terrorism
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Rick

    Although I tend to agree with most of what Ron posted, there is a huge problem with banning all carry-ons.

    1. Most airlines charge per piece checked
    2. Checked baggage cannot be locked
    3. There is a huge theft problem with TSA and baggage handlers
    4. The airlines will not replace your computer out of checked bags if stolen

    December 30, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  2. Ron

    Security costs money. Risks need to be defined and threats evaluated. I am of the opinion the terrorists will soon get this PETN delivery system right, so the threat is very high. Additionally, the risks not just to life, but finnacially, are very high.

    Because of this, we (the civilized world) will need to employ multiple layers of security, human and technical, to accomplish the task.

    But because we are all so behind the curve on this, I think we will need to implement the following:

    1. All luggage should be searched at all airports, bus stations, and train stations.
    2. Absolutely no carry-on baggage anytime for any reason (except medical). This includes all electroinics (remember Lockerbie). People can re-learn to read a book, work puzzles, etc.
    3. All passengers, crew, and support people are subject to multiple layers of screening, including full body surface and internal scans, drug and explossive sniffing dogs. This should happen throughout the entire process as people arrive at the airport or bus and train terminals.
    5. All areas such as tarmacks need to be under very strict security control.
    6. Anyone on a watch list is denied travel on these types of transpotation modes, period. if they need to get somewhere, walk or ride a bike.

    December 30, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  3. ronvan

    The problem is not lists, technology, etc.. The real problem is "our rights".
    You can't do this or that to me because it violates my rights! And if you do then I will sue! Do YOU want to feel safe on a plane or just hope nothing will happen? Nothing is perfect, but we do have the technology to prevent the majority of these problems. Simple for me, if you want to fly then you go through any and all checks required. If not then you don't fly!

    December 30, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  4. mike-sey

    Kieran Chetry's wide eyed disbelief that an educated and wealthy young man could be sucked into terrorism betrays a peculiarly American mindset that money is the anwer to everything.

    Some people, rich or poor, have eyes and are bothered by what they see. Education and wealth , however, give them the intellectual capacity and the resources to look beyond their own personal comfort to question the systemic sources of the ills they see and come to identify with. They also give them the resources to act.

    This is true of rebels , revolutionaries and terrorists throughout history
    from Oliver Cromwell to Patrick Henry and the well-off, slave owning leaders of the insurrection (and terror to the loyalists) that became the American Revolution. From Lenin to Che and Castro, from Carlos to Bin Laden to Menachem Begin and Mandela, there is one thing in common, education, privelege, opportunity and a desire to kick-start change to a situation they see as intolerable and immutable.

    So why the surprise? Don't you think its time for CNN and Americans to stop being so myopically Mid-western?

    December 30, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  5. diane

    Has anyone followed up with the man who HEARD AND WATCHED the conversation between the attempted terrorist attacker and the guy (who was supposedly from India) who ASSISTED in persuading the airport personnel to ALLOW the terrorist to board the aircraft.


    December 30, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  6. J.R. Flesch

    I was extremely critical of Obama's initial reaction to this (practically nothing, standing mute behing Janet Napolitano's inscrutable cover story) - but I see he is at last reacting to the negative public backlash and apparently had a "come to Obama" meeting with the dear head of Homeland Security (?) who has since emended her statement to admit failure. For reference as to how airport security is done correctly (that is, with appropriate profiling and chemical sniffing), I refer him to the Israeli professionals with El Al. It would certainly not hurt to substitute a military presence for the TSA rent-a-wonders as well...

    December 30, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  7. Kelly

    Security? You must be joking...Mutallab got on the plane with no passport, according to American passengers and eyewitnesses, Kurt Haskell and his wife. I would appreciate CNN doing a story about how a "well dressed indian man" assisted Mutallab in getting on the plane in Amsterdam without a passport. I am sure you all have an Amsterdam Bureau that you can dispatch to interview the airport ticketing manager that allowed Mutallab on with no passport? Perhaps you can also question passengers who claimed to see a strange man videotaping the entire flight? Perhaps you can question the passengers who were shuffled about to different rooms at the airport because a bomb sniffing dog found a bomb in another indian man's carry on luggage. He was also arrested, but the FBI isnt talking about this man. Come ON CNN!! Journalism?

    December 30, 2009 at 8:05 am |

    I have been watching and listening to the latest new about our embassy internationally especially in West Africa. The judgement of our counsulor has always been poor. They will always denied the people who are sincere and hard working here in the United state. We have been fighting to bring our grand children that their mother passed away during child birth since 2004, but our Embassy continue to delay their coming. And they has been approved by our home land security since three years ago. We are both U.S.Citizen. Please respond if you can help.

    December 30, 2009 at 2:44 am |
  9. Rick

    I find it interesting that Rep. Dan Burton is so quick to cast aspersions and ask for specific resignations without having any facts at his disposal, as this is an ongoing investigation. His criticism of the Obama administration for failure of a speedy decision released to the press is quite telling.....Rep. Burton has the time to go on CNN to criticize, yet has NOTHING on his website nor his blog relating to the Christmas day attempted airplane bombing. I wonder what is his excuse?

    December 29, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  10. Joe Martins

    Incompetence is widespread across all levels of Government starting at the very top (the President). The country is being run by two political gangs: The Democrats and the Republicans with the complicity of the American public. The press has abdicated its responsibility to investigate expose this incompetency. The press has been very reluctant to expose Obama's incompetence for fear of negative public reaction. I am a naturalized citizen and I am very sad to see our country becoming a second grade country in all respects. We have seen "this movie before" and it has a very bad ending. But as long as the American people allow their thoughts and opinions to be shaped by the partisan mindset that frames all issues in terms of Republicans vs. Democrats. You can never hear an intelligent discussion of issues on their own merits. It is always framed in terms of partisan politics. It is disatrous and insane but it is the way it is.

    Not a very bright future waiting for us,


    December 29, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  11. jim

    Security issue
    Why couldn't the 500,000 names on the terror list be accessed by computers at the worlds airports?

    December 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  12. Frances Witteman

    Lets have a trained bomb and drug sniffing dog and a handler at each line waiting a the security check points at all airports and train stations. They could also walk around the entrance doors. This would create jobs and probably catch more criminals than expensive x-ray equipment that most airports cannot afford. It would also keep the security lines moving more quickly.

    December 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  13. B.C. Capone

    The Christmas bombing attempt, may not have been what it was intended to be. But may have been used to exploite, our fear and allow civillians to become more accessible targets in our airport terminals, by anticipating America to react without looking behind to see ahead of what an attack from our enemies abroad. They are counting on us to assume the unthinkable. Allowing congested terminals to become even more congested, giving our enemy more of a high value target without all of the security measures to bypass.

    December 29, 2009 at 6:37 pm |
  14. richard Franck

    why not get the experts at Google to assist the various agencies to pull together the separate bits of data on possible terrorists? Google has no problem quickly searching many different sites when you type in a name or topic. Why can't the TSA, FBI, CIA, State Department do the same?

    December 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  15. vickie ann

    when are we going to accept 'profiling'? When a young man from a terrorist associated region, pays cash for a 1-way ticket, has no luggage, let alone no passport...wants to fly...he should be scrutinized very carefully...too bad if he turns out to be legitimate. Maybe if 'profiling' becomes the rule those profiled will get angry enough to do something about it in their own home...terrorism will only continue and the terrorist will keep coming up with new ways to terrorize us until thier own people say enough is enough and stop it from the grass roots. The 'new rules' are only appeasment for the U.S. people to make them think they are 'safer'...and make them think that giving up their personal privacy is ok.

    December 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  16. A. Smith, Oregon

    IF it is verified that man was able thru the 'well dressed' middle aged man of Indian decent to get thru Amsterdam's heavy security checks and BOARD a international flight bound for America WITHOUT a passport, this entire security hoopla has nothing whatsoever with sticking Americans with stricter and move invasive body searches and has everything to do with a Governmental Conspiracy to commit mass fraud upon the American people.

    IF that man did not have a passport, the ONLY WAY he got on that plane was by a US Diplomat or a US Governmental Agent pushing him past the Amsterdam security staff and onto that plane which was DESCRIBED by two passengers on that same flight. Not even a flight steward would allow anyone on a international flight without a passport.

    It is impossible for the Nigerian citizen by himself to talk himself or get his self past Amsterdam's heavy security checks and onto a international flight bound to America without a passport. This man appears to be a patsy that was used by Diplomatic Agents to screw the American citizens and public.

    Americans should DEMAND the photos of that US Agent or US Diplomat at the Amsterdam International Gate be released.

    December 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  17. Kelly

    I think these people who wine about privacy and passenger rights should be slapped. I would go to any length to feel safe and have my family be safe while flying. I cant believe these selfish people would rather risk being killed then allow better security.... its sickening

    December 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  18. sylvia smart

    Obama and his Homeland Security pick are protecting themselves and the Jihadist.

    December 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  19. John Jackson

    Why not have dogs sniff for explosives when passengers come through the metal detectors at the airports? Or can't the dogs detect petn. ?

    December 29, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  20. Barbara Prinster

    anyone on a "Watch List" should NOT be able to fly or at least go thru a STRIP SEARCH period! (if you do something to get you on that list, that's the price you must pay.)

    December 29, 2009 at 10:21 am |