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Airline terrorism and White House gate crashing

The alleged attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to bring down Northwest Airlines flight 253 with an explosive device on Christmas Day should serve as a reminder that the successful gate crashing of the White House state dinner was no laughing matter.

Much, too much, has been made of the social climbing and publicity-hungry nature of Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the Virginia couple that got inside one of the world's most secure facilities. Lost in the levity, and the snickering about the bush league behavior of the White House social secretary's operation and the breakdown in Secret Service security, is the fact that the Salahis' breach -- as with Abdulmautallab's bombing attempt -- could have led to grave national consequences.

Imagine the smiling Salahis -- but with radicalized views and explosive devices strapped to their bodies -- entering through the southeast side of the White House. Imagine them mingling inside the Secret Service's tight security bubble within the Blue Room, shaking hands and muttering sweet nothings to America's top political leaders and their distinquished foreign guests.

Imagine them setting off explosives during their audience with the president of the United States.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab came close to successfully completing a horrible act of terrorism against America. The Salahis, had they a mind to do so, could have come even closer.

Don't laugh that off.

By  | December 28, 2009; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  King  
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Next: Terror response, take two

Comments

"... too much, has been made of the social climbing and publicity-hungry nature of Michaele and Tareq Salahi..." Agreed. The details of the private life and how Tareq was psychologically deformed by his cosmetic counter wife, Michaele, are not the kind of details that are relevant to the security breach. They are more diversion and less relevant to the real question: how?

I guess reporting something like this doesn't read well "Secret service was embarrassed; they fixed it; it's secret; can't tell you."

As a substitute, the private life of Tareq and his wife have been published in this newspaper. Why. ... why, why, why. It's nasty and irrelevant. Just tell us that the problem is being fixed. When it comes to personal matters, you don't need to make a point by explaining the context for the offense. BE F-ING RESPECTFUL

If you would like to print the personal details of someone's life, interview them, or do not print.

Posted by: Super_Grover | December 28, 2009 4:32 AM | Report abuse

As I understand it, the Salahis were screened for weapons and explosives, as were all the guests.

Posted by: vinyl1 | December 28, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Count me among those who did not find the Salahi breach cute or amusing, not when it happened, not later, not ever.

Instead I thought of an event where both the President and Vice President were in attendance and felt stunned and angry.

I was even more horrified a few days later when, following Senator Byrd's birthday, which fell around the same time, there was a spate of commentary suggesting legislative changes to the line of succession that could put an individual of an opposing party in line right behind the Vice President.

As an American citizen who has participated actively in politics for many years and witnessed the uptick in partisan rancor, serious name-calling("pals around with terrorists" comes to mind), and crowd-baiting of the last several, I have no trouble at all imagining a political murder for hire underwritten by one of the two major political parties. If they thought for a moment that they had a large enough segment of the public on their side, the plan would follow. The glasses would clink, the Judas or disgruntled "terrorist" would be then be found, and knowing about Washington and security clearances as they do, it probably would not be very difficult to pull it off.

Therefore, I am certainly of the opinion that this last gasp of a possibility for one party to grab the presidency by "default" should be dealt with definitively and permanently. The presidential line of succession should always include only those of the president's party. Of course, even that factor could be subverted, but it should be made difficult, at least. Because if today we have gate-crashing the White House on the hope of being chosen for reality TV, tomorrow it will be assassinating the President for the same reason.

As far as I am concerned, the Salahis are terrorists of a far more dangerous variety than Abdulmautallab and others. All that glitters is not gold lame'. They should have been stopped at the door and strip searched before the crowd with the movie cameras running. Then tossed in a couple of cells at Gitmo, or Chicago, or wherever they are moving as of now. And by the way, there is the reality show for you.
Michaele Salahi would surely be the belle of that ball, in an orange jumpsuit, waterboarded like any true terrorist, or forced to hold the same position for hours with a bright light in her face.

Instead, we have treated these people like celebrities, which only means there will be more of the same to follow, only the next couple will have to ramp it up to be noticed.

The Balloon Boy family is doing shock jail time and denied the ability to profit from their dangerous antics. The Salahis should be punished, severely. Or wait for more of it.

Sorry, Mr.King, I seem to have out-columned the columnist, but I don't have an editor...

Posted by: martymar123 | December 28, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I want to comment on my own previous comment..."If they thought for a moment that they had a large enough segment of the public on their side, the plan would follow."

The thought lost in all the verbiage above is that "we" no longer operate on the principles of "right and wrong" but on "what we can get away with." Don't look at the Salahi debacle as a prank or an isolated breach, but rather as an ominous dry run for something far more serious.

Posted by: martymar123 | December 28, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully not sounding like a chicken-heart neocon, the danger is still out there. Don't freakout, just be aware.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 28, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I am actually upset that the Salahis have not been charged with anything. I know it is because Obama is protecting Desiree Rogers, who as far as I am concerned should be fired for letting her ego come before her duties.

BTW I am not one of those right wing nuts who pick at everything. I support the President and think that he is doing a great job fixing 8 years of GW Bush who, along with Dick Cheney, I believe are criminals and traitors.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | December 28, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I'd be most pleased to see the Salahis indicted, prosecuted and convicted - for something, trespass at least. More than that I'd like to see the producers of whatever reality show that followed them also charged with what is probably abetting and encouraging a felony. For that matter, go after the sleazy people who asked them to appear on talk shows after the event.

Posted by: irishpoet1 | December 28, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I find the Salahi's intrusion into the White House to be indicative of the fact that Obama does not take our security seriously. The attempted terrorist attack on the Northwest flight over the weekend, just as that of the Ft. Hood massacre to be just the beginning of a new type of terrorism on our land. Janet Nepolitano is ill equipped, just as all of Obama's minions, to handle any part of our nation's needs. By having the trial of the terrorists from GITMO in New York and transferring GITMO prisoners to our land is just asking for more terrorists act. It's as if Obama wants all this to happen. Remember Rahm's quip about never letting a good crisis go to waste? This is what Obama is wishing to happen here so that he can finally impose Martial Law and enslave the people once and for all. Afterall, that's what the current healthcare bill is about. The People of this country will never be safe as long as Obama is in the White House.

Posted by: aaniko | December 28, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@vinyl1

"As I understand it, the Salahis were screened for weapons and explosives, as were all the guests."

As I understood it, the 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was also screened for weapons and explosives at the airport. Crazy people always find away sadly....

Posted by: mjfadaway23 | December 28, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should punish the Salahis for trespassing at the White House.

Maybe we should make people on the 'noise level' terrorism list go through extra checks at the airport.

Maybe when a foreign national's parents report them as potential terrorists, we should make them go through bomb screenings or pat downs at the airports.

Instead, it seems like we settle for spending a lot of money on DHS policy, which results in a database that doesn't get used, taking off our shoes at the airport, and trusting the judgment of airport security guards.

Posted by: postfan1 | December 28, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

If a plane had blown up, and, if a President had been killed, the country would survive. What can destroy the country is invasion (even if "peaceful"), or the destruction of our principles of government (even if "with good intent").

Posted by: rusty3 | December 28, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

For those that maintain the details of the Salahis' private lives gleaned from public records is not relevant, I disagree. It is relevant on two levels.

First, it is very relevant to severity of the security breach at the White House. The fact is that any basic security background check always includes scrutiny of the financial background of the subject. The theory goes, I believe, that a subject in dire financial straights may be more likely to commit a crime for financial gain. If it is possible to have a negative number credit rating, it wouldn't surprise me if such was the case with the Salahis, given all that has been published of late about them. Such a background check also involves queries to the FBI's NCIS computer records to determine any interaction with law enforcement. According to the WaPo, a Montgomery County Maryland police detective found earlier this year no less than 41 separate entries of the Salahis interaction with law enforcement, and, in connection with his particular investigation of a crime alleged by Mr. Salahi, the detective concluded that Mr. Salahi had provided to the Police a fabricated document, and his complaint was "unfounded".

Had even a cursory background check been run on these people, it would have raised more red flags than a 1960's era Moscow May Day parade, and they never would have made it to the White House driveway, much less been admitted.

Second, I, for one, believe the story of the Salahis' deserved attention just as the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme deserved attention. It reminds people that sometimes the more grandiose the illusion, the more gullible otherwise intelligent people can be.

My opinions.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | December 28, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for drawing the comparison!

Although I realize you were reminding us of the huge lapse in security for the US president, you may also agree with the following related argument:

As in any country, the US has its own 'public opinion', a potpourri resulting from experiences and knowledge of history. This potpourri is shaped by extraneous influences, most notably news channels, and as a people we have learned how to identify 'good folk' and the 'bad folk'. We unknowingly let others form opinions for us about how people should be treated differently based on who they are. The alleged Nigerian terrorist DEFINITELY needs to be tried and punished for his crime (which was far more serious than the issue involving the Salahis). No debate about that. However, imagine if instead of a Polo enthusiast and his blonde wife, the Salahis were second generation Afghans or Pakistanis (man with maybe a beard). Would our public and media have allowed them to 'wave at the cameras' prior to a news conference, almost elevating them to celebrity status?

It cant be denied that in this country there is a self centered and biased view of the world, fostered by the media culture. This permeates our daily lives and needs to change in my opinion to effectively counter the threat of global terror.

Posted by: SyedMahmood | December 28, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

"As I understand it, the Salahis were screened for weapons and explosives, as were all the guests."

Would the screening have detected the powder sewn into the underwear of the airplane attacker?

Stop with the apologist nonsense.

Posted by: bobmoses | December 28, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I just had to set the record straight on martymar123's warnings of the possibility of putsch if the laws of succession were 'changed' viz. "there was a spate of commentary suggesting legislative changes to the line of succession that could put an individual of an opposing party in line right behind the Vice President. "

The Constitution of the US allows, and ALWAYS HAS, the succession of a member of the opposing party. The third in line behind the President and Vice President is the Speaker of the House. The Speaker of the House was a member of the opposing party as recently of January 19 of this year.

Posted by: Number31 | December 28, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"imagine if instead of a Polo enthusiast and his blonde wife, the Salahis were second generation Afghans or Pakistanis (man with maybe a beard). Would our public and media have allowed them to 'wave at the cameras' prior to a news conference, almost elevating them to celebrity status?"

Excellent point. The face of the today’s “public enemy” is now young Nigerians males? I see how people look at Orthodox Muslims at the airport. I’ve heard stories of people asking to change planes. The reality is that any race, nationality could possibly be a terrorist. We like to say that race doesn’t matter, but the reality is very different.

Posted by: letsgetreal | December 28, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

aaniko:

This may be the most ridiculous piece of rubbish I have ever read. To think that any President does not take the security of this country serious is absurb. All presidents take this seriously. Does this mean Bush did not take it seriously when the shoe-bomber tried to blow up a plane? Or 9/11, when he was briefed prior?

And having the trials for Gitmo detainees in NY...did you compalin in 2005 when those detainees were tries in Virginia? or in 1998 when the bombers of the 1993 trade ctr bombing were tries in NY?

Be serious.

Posted by: jjj141 | December 28, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

martymar123 is obviously a dyed-in-the-woll democrat; which explains his or her rabid desire not to have a possibility of a switch in the party controlling the Oval Office.

In actuality, the party inheriting control through succession is totally irrelevant. The VP is already in the same party by virtue of being on the same ticket as the president. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is an elected official of the district that person represents, and most likely to be of the same party as the President. The President pro tempore of the Senate is also an elected official, albeit of the state he or she represents, and usually the longest serving member of the Senate. The point is, these successors are all choices of the people, either directly by vote, or indirectly by our own representatives. They may or may not be of the same political party. But they are infinitely preferable to the members of the president's cabinet. Cabinet officials are picked by the president, and may be of any party, and may not be eligible for succession based on birth, age, or residency.

As for comparisons to the X-mas Bomber, I hardly think the Salahis are on a terrorist watch list. No harm, no foul. We had a risk event, we know what went wrong, and the SS are definately making the necessary changes. There isn't a problem.

By the way, the President is not directly in charge of the Secret Service, they fall under the Treasury Department. Considering the screwed up economy of the past two years, that should be a bigger worry than any shoe bomber.

Posted by: mhoust | December 28, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The Obama administration needs to role heads with regard to national security starting with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. She is a political hack not a security pro. The same thing happened at the White House Dinner. One must ask what will it take for the Administration to wake up and bring professionals into key roles rather politicians. Security is a problem in the U.S. from the White House to Congress to airports to the U.S. border states. To date the entire system is completely broken.

Posted by: CPTKILLER | December 28, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't have said it better myself ~ in fact I DID, several times!

Right here on the WarshPost comments threads. I noted that the regime was quite lucky this time ~ but next time the guy with the PLO connections would probably arrive at the White House with dynamite in his "butt" wearing a Rolex watch modified to serve as a remote detonator!

So, the guy came with a load in his shorts ~ and decided to bomb Detroit rather than DC, but he arrived nonetheless ~ and according to him he's just the first of many!

So, what do we gather from all of this ~ well, we probably shouldn't allow President Goober to hold any more parties where there's him, the Vice President and the Speaker of the House in the same tent!

Plus, Fur Shur don't put them on the same airplane, nor allow them anywhere near Detroit. After all, one thing we've learned about AlQaida is they'll keep hitting the same soft target time after time until they get it right.

They have, as we all know, circled the White House a couple of times, and now we know there's some one on the "inside" who can put a PLO connected small time criminal right there, up front, with the President himself.

You know, ol'Goober thinks he's on vacation today ~ but it may well be little more than "safe keeping".

Posted by: muawiyah | December 28, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Mr. King,

You are among my favorite Post columnists. I usually like your columns, but PLEASE stop writing about the Salahis.

I don't give a **** about them. Stop wasting space on this non-story. Its just garbage.

Anyone who cares about these people as much as the Post covers them is an indictment of the intelligence of the Post's readership.

Posted by: jboogie1 | December 28, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Human error can turn up anywhere. So can human resolve, arrogance, indifference and many other traits. They never appear alone. Terrorism has been around for a while. Whether it was an act against 15 year old Emmit Till or 23 year old John Lewis, we have seen terrorism before, at home and abroad. This latest attempt that was foiled had many things working against it.

This 23 year old was attempting to operate in a more aware environment. The prompt and successful prevention of his sabotage by a "foreigner" across two aisles of an airplane is noteworthy. The subsequent events including the refusal of our President to stick his face in the middle of the subsequent brouhaha should be reason for further compliments. There was an obvious loophole in the screening procedure but someone's backup plan worked. It may not have been a Federally planned and funded contingency but the young man from Holland who tackled the alleged London University educated engineer/would be bomber must have gone through this scenario as an imagined event at sometime in his past. His action saved more than 300 lives. He did not act alone, however. Compare his deed and that of those others who helped him with the acts and words of our Senators who, in the face of 45,000 unneeded deaths annually (lack of health insurance) continue to spew hateful words while appearing to regard those lives as human fodder for the giant corporations who purchase their callousness and disregard. Maybe their attitude is related to the excellent coverage provided for them.

The almost disaster of Mr Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a learning experience. He learned that killing himself and others was scary and more difficult than he ever imagined. He may also have a better idea of his skill level. Whom else will learn and what will be learned is up to us.

Posted by: Draesop | December 28, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

"just had to set the record straight on martymar123's warnings of the possibility of putsch if the laws of succession were 'changed' viz. "there was a spate of commentary suggesting legislative changes to the line of succession that could put an individual of an opposing party in line right behind the Vice President. "

The Constitution of the US allows, and ALWAYS HAS, the succession of a member of the opposing party. The third in line behind the President and Vice President is the Speaker of the House. The Speaker of the House was a member of the opposing party as recently of January 19 of this year."

Yes, thank you. I believe you're quite right, and I expected to be outed on my muddled early morning musings. I didn't say it well or correctly.

My point, though, was that those discussions of
succession laws brought into focus for me, what I feel is a dangerous situation that already exists and should be addressed---the possibility of an opposing party taking over the presidency through assassination. I believe the public should always have the benefit of the entire presidential term staying with the party which won the election.

And this is especially true
given the the way that restraining moral codes have largely given way to a code of ethics that pretty much consists of doing whatever one can get away with.

Posted by: martymar123 | December 28, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

letsgetreal wrote

" I see how people look at Orthodox Muslims at the airport. I’ve heard stories of people asking to change planes."

Thats shameful AND stupid. How many of the 9/11 hijackers had beards and wore turbans?

The obsession with safety some, nay, MOST people in this country have seems to bring out the worst in them. What cowards. I rarely ever fly (I can't afford to, I'm still a student), but I'd rather sit next to an Orthodox Muslim than a bigoted, cowardly, moron.

Posted by: jboogie1 | December 28, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

You are correct in saying the Salahis could have brought in explosives and blown up our leaders, as with the attempt on the Saudi prince, in underwear or deeper.

Neither Desiree Rogers nor Janet Napolitano will be allowed to face inquiry because personal connections are more important to the Obama Administration than national security or Americans' lives.

Hence, Ms. Napolitano's quote on CNN Dec. 27: "And one thing I’d like to point out is that the system worked."

Posted by: llrllr | December 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

martymar123 ~ imagine if we had a Speaker of the House whose father had been the closest thing to a Mafia "made man" that you can be and still manage to become mayor of Baltimore Maryland.

Doggone.

And would she pose some danger to the President and Vice President?

The question is, has the Mafia ever bumped off a politician? Judge Crater perhaps; or a union leader ~ Jimmy Hoffa?

What do you imagine their children learn about such things as they grow up in a household where there's regular ring kissing and "contracts".

Hmm?

I still have my eye on Nancy as the power behind the Salahi visit.

Posted by: muawiyah | December 28, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. King. During the "talking head" part of that "romp" in our White House some said they they appeared to belong at the party ie: skinny, stringy haired bleached blond with hair extensions- it is a 'white thang"? Our media still have time to show some of the real party. The guests from India and the celebration itself should be shown to help educate all of us on our guests from India and on the celebration that night - leave out the skinny blond. Wonder if she can find India on the map? As an older, white woman..I have always heard that blonds have more fun, but with my own hair and hair color and my own teeth and breasts...what do I know.

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | December 28, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Now, with the recent fellow with his explosives in his underwear...it may be time for a strip search. Women have a wonderful spot to "store" things and drugs have been know to be there. More women will be used in terrorism activities and I wonder if the secret service can "see through" underwear, thongs, and even spot sanitary napkins or other female products.

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | December 28, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I think that King was pretty much "right on". He said exactly what needed to be said. Thank you.

Posted by: springmeupstateedu | December 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Awareness of the dangers of terrorism has been considerably blunted because of the campaign of hatred against Bush and Cheney over their anti-terrorism policies.

Posted by: improvista | December 28, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

improvista, it is truly refreshing to see someone like Mr. King become a novitiate in the church of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

We have a chance to lead that we had not anticipated.

Next, lessons in patriotic observance, and then "How to think like a real capitalist".

Posted by: muawiyah | December 28, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

vinyl1 made the point that the Salahi's were checked for weapons. This is true. However, there are other ways that they might have struck if they had been terrorists. After all, they were right there with the president and vice president. A martial arts expert, for example, might have killed one of our leaders that night in the midst of a "photo opportunity".

The security question remains a serious one. I wish it were not so, but no security program is going to be 100% foolproof. If someone wants to attack badly enough, and is willing to die in the attempt,it is difficult to stop such a person. However, a lot can still be done, and I assume that it is being implemented right now.

Thanks, Mr. King, for keeping the focus of this story where it should be.

Posted by: j24w | December 28, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

At least one poster has noted that the Salahi's will never be charged with anything, because if they were they could subpoena Desiree Rogers. Not gonna happen.

It's transparent.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | December 28, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I never thought the Salahis incident was a laughing matter; I always thought it was deadly serious.

If the White House cannot credibly protect the Presdident, Vice-President, visiting dignitaries (such as the president of a foreign country) and other persons at a cocktail party then how can one beleive they can protect the nation?

This incident is proof they can't. A man on a terror watch list manages to board a plane to America with a bomb strapped to his leg.

And it is but one of many. An airliner "lost" for an hour over the Mid-west is another example of this administration's inability to effectively protect this nation.

This is not the only lapse in security. At the inaugeration money people complained about the security lapses that exposed the president-elect to peril.

This president is going to get himself killed because he tolerates and protects incompetence amoung his own staff as well as with the Secret Service.


Posted by: krankyman | December 28, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

anything new in ur world mr. king. what drivel.comparing these complete fools actions with a muslim lunatic.good shot at secret service .

Posted by: pofinpa | December 28, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Uh, VINYL-CAN'T YOU READ? SO WAS THE NIGERIAN ABM SCREENED FOR EXPLOSIVES, AND X-RAYED, TWICE EVEN! AND HE STILL GOT HIS PETN IED THROUGH!

YOU DON'T GET IT, DO YOU? I SAID THIS ON ONE OF THE OTHER POSTS-INDIA IS USED TO ATTRACTIVE FEMALE BOMBERS WITH BOMBS STRAPPED TO THEM UNDERNEATH THEIR DRESSES-THIS IS WHO RAJIV GANDHI WAS ASSASSINATED IN 1991-THE SALAHIS COULD EASILY HAVE HAD A PETN IED STRAPPED TO THEIR GROIN AS WELL!

Posted by: arrabbiato | December 28, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

has organized crime (aka Mob, aka Mafia) ever bumped off a politician in the US? quite a bit of evidence points to a Mob connection in JFK's death, because a US hands-off Cuba policy would preclude the Mafia from gaining control of the illicit activities they ran in Cuba under Batista...will we ever really know for sure whether JFK was killed by the CIA, the Reds, the Mob, a loneball Oswald, or another party? probably not for many decades if ever...

Posted by: RoguesPalace | December 28, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

my fear is not that a person from another party might succeed to the presidency (as some above points out, it has been that way throughout US history), but the competency of some of those in the direct line of succession: Robert Byrd is 94 and not in good health (imagine an Acting President Byrd, now that is a scary prospect!)... and 30 to 40 years ago, we had Speaker McCormack (from Mass) and Senate President Hayden (from AZ) in line to succeed LBJ before Humphrey became Vice President in Jan. 65. both McCormack and Hayden looked like they were already in the casket, no disrespect intended....and if one of these very aged persons took over, the constitution allows a majority of the cabinet to in effect remove them from office based on a lack of physical or mental competency.... which is a real recipe for disaster... can you imagine the politics behind a Secretary of State Clinton (4th in line to the presidency) trying to oust an Acting President Byrd in a very constiutional manner? Byrd could end up as Vince Foster #2...

Posted by: RoguesPalace | December 28, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Napolitano is a looney tooney.

Anyone who hired her has to be one too.

How can she miss the Jed Clampet figure walking around in DC with a loaded gun that shot security people?
He was already on a watch list for attacks there, that she also failed to "WATCH"

She looks like the Pirates Parrot sqwauking on Obama's shoulder.

We have had disease spreads, attacks all over the soil, and we still see her not fired?

Posted by: dottydo | December 28, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I did not take the Salahi's breach of security lightly and would be happy to see them indicted. I, also, do not take their accomplice in the Pentagon's behavior lightly and do not understand why Ms Jones has not been held accountable. Given the fact that she is a high level assistant to Bob Gates and that the Pentagon has been leaking like a sieve.

If you want to talk about gross incompetence and looney toons, let's discuss Michael Chertoff. The mess he left for Napolatano to clean up will cripple Homeland Security for some time to come.

Posted by: xclntcat | December 28, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"Imagine them setting off explosives during their audience with the president of the United States. "

Someone's got a hard on for Tom Clancy.

Seriously, get a life, write about things that happen, not didn't happen. AND STOP TALKING ABOUT THOSE TWO MORONS.

Posted by: ihatelogins | December 28, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

My wifepoints out that therec were 300 passengers on the plane. That would indeed have been horrible. We have only one president, and that would have been enough,even though we do have adequate plans for succession and continuity. I will not even think of flying, just because of the aggravation and jumps I must clear even though I do think I look pretty harmless. These folks had no invitation, reason enough to ask them who they are at the very least. I hate living in a partial police state, all the more when it does not increase my security or that of someone far more important to the nation than I am. BTW, who shot and killed the mayor of Chicago ( I don't remember his name right off, was it Cenak?) as he stood beside FDR making a speech?

Posted by: johndavison | December 28, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

mr. king is right about this one. and the obama-rahama has flunked this test, so far. it's not a joke. jfk said, 'you can survive a mistake in domestic policy, but NOT in foreign policy'. obama-rahma has just demonstrated how far they are in over their heads. he's lost.

he's cute though.

Posted by: fshaffer | December 28, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

johndavison: i think the name you were looking for is Giuseppe Zangara.

Posted by: martymar123 | December 28, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The media were accessories in making the Salahis into celebrities. And they profited off of it with increased readership and hits to their websites. I suspect in the old days the media might have respected a temperate coverage - one that allows the info to the public, but did not celebrate the couple so.

But those were the old days. We now mostly have "infotainment" masquerading as news.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 28, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Do we really know that explosives can be mixed and set off, in real world conditions?

So far all we know is that guys on planes can come pretty close to burning their own weiners off.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | December 28, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Both incidents share one common thread: a breakdown of systems created to enhance security and a failure of those who were appointed to be in charge of these systems to properly manage them and the people who responsible for making them work.

So far we have heard from the powers that be that investigations are being conducted to reveal what went wrong. If past experiences is any indication, these will not produce any real improvements in the flawed systems and the same old team of bureacrats will go on overseeing that system. No harm, no foul.

In the end, successful enterprises hold individuals accountable for failure and reward competence. The Federal Government whether it be the Secret Service or Homeland Security operates by a different metric: don/t embarass anyone and don't learn from past mistakes.

Posted by: bobfbell | December 28, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

xc-ABOUT MICHAEL CHERTOFF-I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE WITH PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH HIM-HE DIDN'T GIVE A D AMN ABOUT DHS-CHEROFF ONLY CARED ABOUT SEXY TERRORIST ISSUES -ANYTHING ELSE, LIKE DISASTER PREPAREDNESS, CUSTOMS, ETC., WAS BENEATH HIM-HE DID INDEED LEAVE DHS IN A TOTAL INCHOATE MESS-AN IDIOT NON-PAREIL.

Posted by: arrabbiato | December 28, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

While the Salahis obviously were allowed to enter, they still had to go through the physical security checks that every other guest went through, so they would not have been able to get explosives in -- unless the White House used security check points unable to detect the type of explosive that Abdulmutallab used, which, as I understand, would not have been detected with a metal detector but would have with an air puff-type of check).

Posted by: jcruz1 | December 28, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

"Remember Rahm's quip about never letting a good crisis go to waste? This is what Obama is wishing to happen here so that he can finally impose Martial Law and enslave the people once and for all. Afterall, that's what the current healthcare bill is about. The People of this country will never be safe as long as Obama is in the White House."
___________________

Uh, yeah... put the pipe down, Genius.

Posted by: ntlekt | December 28, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I guess this is a first time through for many of the posters on this thread.

Over in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy we already know all about the AlQaida guy who used a "butt bomb" in an assassination attempt against a Saudi Arabian crown prince. Had a cellphone rigged to set it off. (SEE: http://sourcebase.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/the-saudi-arabian-islamic-challenge/ )

There are quite extensive discussions of this technique those on the Left might find interesting ~

The Saladi couple (and boy could Rep. McDermott have told you about "a Florida couple" if you want to know how damaging these couples can be-) could have waltz through right up to a meeting with the President and Vice President with "butt bombs" ~ and without anal probes (SEE: Southpark, Cartman's Anal Probe) we are still technologically helpless in detecting such things.

I think it's quite interesting that the attack on the Saudi prince took place in the same sort of "environment of engagement" Obama said he was going to create.

Kind of like AlQaida thinks that's just a bunch of BS.

Posted by: muawiyah | December 28, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

One only has to look as far as who Obama has hired as his Cabinet members and "czars". Napolitano is not even close to experienced in security, she was a governor not a law enforcement official! As far as the White House, I was told by a friend that works in the White House that Desiree Rogers actually considers herself a "guest" at these functions not someone that is supposed to work. All her previous compartriots were completly invovlved in managing the event. Rogers had already seated herself as a guest. Most before her never sat as a guest, in fact most did not sit until everyone else was in place and the event well on its way. Most also were at the entry point making sure the guest list was being adhered to.

We have a bunch of rookies, inexperienced, and naive people ruining our country.

Posted by: staterighter | December 29, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

"Remember Rahm's quip about never letting a good crisis go to waste? This is what Obama is wishing to happen here so that he can finally impose Martial Law and enslave the people once and for all."

Change the above names to Bush, Cheney, and Rove, and that's what I worried about for the better part of a decade. I thought President Obama would do away with the Patriot Act and spying on citizens but now he has his reasons, too.....Governments don't give up powers once they get them, they keep them, and look for ways to get more powers.

The trouble with the conservative/liberal
dichotomy is that both are right. Government is the problem. And the solution. Republican, Democrat, they are all dangerous, and not to be trusted.
Trust, but verify? I can't verify anything, therefore I trust nothing.

Posted by: martymar123 | December 29, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the WH took this seriously. The social director still has her job, right? Instead of working at what she was hired to do, she was sitting down and having dinner on my dime. Where is Carter? At least he knew who was on the tennis court at all times.

Posted by: rustynailx | December 29, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

King says:
"The alleged attempt by a 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to bring down Northwest Airlines flight 253 with an explosive device on Christmas Day..."

"Alleged attempt"? The guy was caught with a crotch-full of a flaming mixture of PETN and some glycol solution.

Of course he may have been just auditioning for a spot in the new movie "Jackass-Stupid Airplane Stunts".

Posted by: spamsux1 | December 29, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't know who is laughing Mr. King. But the source of the problem is OBAMA and his choices. Desiree Rogers and Janet Napolitano should swap jobs and see how that works out for all involved. OBAMA, Rogers, and Napolitano are all equally qualified for any of the jobs they hold. The joke is on the citizens of the U.S.A.

Posted by: iphony | December 29, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

If that had been the case, they would never have met the President, having been arrested while trying to go through a metal detector with explosive devices taped to their bodies. And we'd have an even bigger story.

Oh? You thought we were ignorant and did not know that all White House guests, the great and the small, go through security?

Posted by: ggreenbaum | December 30, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

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