On the twelfth day of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s completely unexpected Christmas, the State Department finally canceled its gift. Andrew Malcolm reports that the administration has finally gotten around to revoking the erstwhile suicide bomber’s visa:
Under the category of looks-like-about-12-days-too-late, the State Department has announced it is revoking the U.S. visa for suspected Nigerian underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
That will show him and who knows how many others that the Obama administration really means business.
The 23-year-old al-Qaeda-trained terrorist was on a terrorist watch list because he had traveled to Yemen for training. His father also warned U.S. officials he was dangerous. President Obama admitted Tuesday that U.S. intelligence experts knew much about the man but “failed to connect the dots” causing a “potentially disastrous” situation. …
On Tuesday State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley announced that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has subsequently been stripped of the government visa that allowed him to fly to America on a one-way ticket purchased with cash.
Crowley said others have also lost the right to visit the United States now that officials have been checking existing lists for potential terrorists, but he would not name or count them. “It’s more than one,” Crowley said. “But I don’t think it’s fruitful to get into a scoreboard.”
Well, it had to happen sooner or later. The question would be why it was later. As President Obama said, both intelligence agencies and the State Department had plenty of information about the risk Abdulmutallab posed. Why was nothing done about it?
But also, why did it take twelve days to review his visa after the attack? Having set his crotch on fire in an attempt to murder hundreds of passengers on a US-bound airliner, was there some question as to whether we might like to have Abdulmutallab fly our friendly skies again? No one has a right to an American visa, and we should be able to revoke one in minutes when necessary and obvious — not twelve days.
Of course, let’s not forget that this is actually an improvement for State. It took six months after 9/11 for State to approve Mohammed Atta’s visa.
What was more clueless: waiting twelve days to cancel the EunuchBomber’s visa, or holding a press conference to announce it?
Update: I misread Steyn’s post; State approved Atta’s visa in 2002. I’ve changed the above to reflect the correction.