Two passengers on Northwest 253’s Christmas flight insist that they saw Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with a well-dressed man at a counter at Schipol, attempting to get on the plane without a passport. Now Dutch police have started an investigation into whether an accomplice helped the suicide-underwear bomber bluff his way onto a flight into the US. They already have admitted that Abdulmutallab appears to have bypassed normal passport control at the Amsterdam airport:
Dutch military police are investigating the possibility that an accomplice may have helped the Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, a spokesman said on Monday.
A U.S. couple on the flight, Kurt and Lori Haskell, told Reuters and other news agencies that they saw a tall, well-dressed man aged about 50 with the suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on Friday morning at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
The Haskells have claimed the man spoke for Abdulmutallab and attempted to get him aboard Northwest flight 253 without a passport. …
The military police have already said Abdulmutallab did not go through passport control at Schiphol when he arrived from Lagos.
Clearly, the security process at Schipol needs a lot of work. The US has warned about security in Lagos for years. Anyone coming from Lagos should be double-checked, not allowed to bypass passport controls. And anyone on a US watch list should have been screened more closely, not ignored.
An accomplice would put a new light on the attack. So far, Janet Napolitano has tried to argue that Abdulmutallab probably acted alone, and that the attack was not part of a wider conspiracy. If the Haskells are correct, then a conspiracy exists, which seems rather obvious to everyone except the Department of Homeland Security.
This prompts the question: why are they presuming the lack of a conspiracy rather than the existence of one? After all, the former would tend to force more action to secure future flights. The evidence will lead in the proper direction when it’s uncovered. But both are assumptions in the lack of any evidence — so why not make the fail-secure assumption first? Or at the very least, stop making the former assumption.
Instead of attempting to jolly Americans into a false sense of security, DHS should be provided actual security. At least the Dutch aren’t making assumptions of a lone nut attack.
(image from CNN.com)
Update: I meant to say “former assumption” in the penultimate paragraph, which I’ve since corrected. Thanks to the commenters who pointed out the mistake.