December 27th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
11 months ago

Napolitano: No indication of wider plot in botched airline attack

(CNN) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday there was no indication so far that a botched terror attack on a U.S. airliner was part of a broad international effort.

"Right now we have no indication that it is part of anything larger," Napolitano told CNN's "State of the Union" program.

A lone suspect allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan on Christmas Day.

The device apparently failed to detonate and the suspect was subdued.

Napolitano said the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was on a broad security watch list that contains "half a million" names and is shared with airlines and foreign security agencies. However, a lack of specific evidence prevented him from being classified as a greater security risk that would bar him from travel to the United States, she said.

"You need information that is specific and credible if you're going to bar people from air travel," Napolitano said.

Despite a possible tragedy, Napolitano said the response system worked as passengers and crew avoided panic and subdued the suspect while authorities notified other flights in the air of the situation and kept the air transport system operating.

"The whole process of making sure that we respond properly, correctly and effectively went very smoothly," Napolitano said.

Security screening has been increased in the wake of the incident, with different procedures at different airports to prevent predictability, Napolitano said.

"While we continue to investigate the source of this incident, the traveling public should be very confident of what we're doing now," she said.

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. D. Bunker

    "Am I to understand that conservatives are no longer free to speak in this country because hate-based threats of assault?"

    No, but you might want to schedule a psych evaluation.

    "Let's start protecting ourselves by nixing plan of moving these prisoners to Illinois. That's a standing target."

    Wow, do you wet your bed in fear every night? The Nigerian guy is currently hospitalized a couple of miles from my house. I slept fine, just as I would if terrorists are tried and/or incarcerated in the US. It's a shame you're such a coward.

    December 27, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
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