Terror response, take two

Jonathan Capehart
Copyright 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009; 9:40 AM

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took to the Sunday shows yesterday to declare that the "system worked" in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 as it descended into Detroit on Christmas Day. By this morning on the morning shows, Napolitano was back peddling faster than you can say, "non-stop." On the "Today Show," she told Matt Lauer that her remark was taken out of context. What she meant was that all the notifications that needed to happen once the incident was reported "worked." But when Lauer asked if the system "failed miserably" before the incident happened, Napolitano agreed. She later said, "Our system did not work in this instance" and that "an extensive review is underway." Much better -- but the damage is done. Our editorial today slammed Napolitano. "The attack was averted because of the luck of a faulty detonator and the quick response of alert passengers," we wrote. The Wall Street Journal editorial page makes a similar observation: "Janet Napolitano says the system worked. No, we were brave and lucky." More from me later. For now, check out the Atlantic Wire's round-up of opinion on what's next on security and terror now that disaster has been averted.

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