December 27th, 2009
10:00 AM ET
4 years 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. Bill

    This clown reminds me of that dopey shoe bomber. Sure, Muslims want to slaughter all infidels, but this guy is NOT part of any organized anything. I suspect he can't organize his own sock drawer. Islam attracts psychos like moths to a flame. And PLEASE, you may not like Obama, but the notion that he isn't concerned about our national security is just idiotic!

    December 27, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. Swishbone

    Keep moving, keeping moving, nothing to see here. Not a real attack, just a "botched" attack.

    CNN – ask the Dutch citizen who got his hands roasted during his subduing on the TERRORIST if the attack was "botched".

    December 27, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. BoMarc507

    How Stupid are you? – Evidently not as stupid or ignorant of the facts as your comment portrays. What? Did You miss ALL the stories about how many MORE Predator attacks have taken place under President Obama than under George W. Bush? What? Did you miss ALL the stories about where the REAL enemy is located in Afghanistan & Pakistan?

    Perhaps you're still rooting for the lies put out by the previous administration who ordered all of our forces to Iraq instead of fighting terrorism. Did you complain about the former President taking his eye off the ball back in 2003? Did you miss ALL the stories where the generals in Afghanistan have complained since 2003 about the resurgence of the enemy in Afghanistan or the lack of forces and strategy to eliminate that enemy?

    Those of us with an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL education will overlook your grammar and punctuation mistakes. Who knows? If you go back to school, maybe you can learn to read AND write. You might even make it to high school so you can learn to think.

    December 27, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  4. Reason

    Why do we have so much "hate" in our comments? We hate in this country just as much as other countries hate us.

    December 27, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. TOTUS

    She just had another pathetic performance on Meet the Press. This woman is completely incompetent, and we are placing our country's domestic security in HER hands??? YIKES!

    Another example of Obama placing political correctness above competence. Instead of being lawyered up in a 'police action' and described as merely another 'lone wolf' by the administration, this guy should be water boarded. What 'lone wolf' event is about to take place next?! We demand to know now!

    December 27, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. penobscot

    Swishbone...u got that right!!!

    December 27, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Swishbone

    BoMarc507 – I apologize for my bad spelling, grammer and punctutation. I was educated in a government school by unionionzed teachers. A true Obamist educational paradise.

    December 27, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Anonymous

    A plane has become a extreme weapon for extreme people. I think we have reached the point (global) where we need to change the rules. If you fly you will searched,top to bottom, no exceptions. My family's life, as well as mine is worth the effort and time. If we don't change the rules, we will pay, one way or another.

    December 27, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. Dave

    Our federal government has once again shown themselves to be lacking the vigilance and focus to protect innocent tax paying American citizens. Janet Napolitano's casual response to the botched terrorist attack on the flight to detroit exemplifies the over-all posture the Obama administration has towards the on going world wide jihad. Islamic extremist around the world know the time is now to attack, and without a change in language and response to this type of act there will be more attempted attacks on Americans and our interests world wide. Step it up Mr. President, the terrorists are!

    December 27, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. penobscot

    why the United States wastes time "trying" these "evil-doers" is just about enough to make me puke...nothing bothers me like the whimpeshness that this country has allowed itself to stoop to, amidst all its other woes.

    December 27, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. Donkey Party

    CNN – Where are your moderators? Your Political Ticker has become hijacked by the Right-wing and is now just another venue for the American Taliban Republican / Conservative party and their drooling cult following to display their complete ignorance, racism, and hate for anything that helps American citizens. Why are we fighting oversees when the biggest terrorist threat is right here on our own soil, the GOP? Since I can't reason with any of them due to their ability to comprehend, I will instead be beating the crap out of any Rightie that has the misfortune of crossing my path. I won't beat you to death, but the beating will be severe enough to challenge the coverage limits of your health care plan. There is more hate in my heart toward the Right-wing than toward any terrorist organization in the Middle East. Al Qayda is dangerous, but the GOP has killed, and continues to kill more Americans than any terrorist group could ever achieve in a thousand lifetimes.

    December 27, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Black Viper

    To how stupid are? you and swishbone..... Apparently it looks like you resemmble the typical tea bagger, right wing "Ecervele" lacking any logic, full of hate and nonsense.
    If you think being arrogant as Bush or any neocon refusing to cooperate with moderate arab nations will make all Islam extremists Us haters in the world disapear all of the sadden and keep you safe in the US I urge you to contact a Psychic as quickly as possible. I have some numbers for you if you want.

    December 27, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Jim Hall

    This is for all of you village idiots that are blameing President Obama and his staff on this incident. As I look around my house and (I did) before makeing this comment. There are thousands of ways to conceal an explosive and get it on an airplane (or whatever) just look around if you are able to see and think then cast the last stone. The only way that I could come up with being unable to not let this happen again would be for all of the public to strip all of our clothes off (go nude) onto the mode of transportation or into the stores. Only then are we truly exposed but wait a minute their are still ways of conceiling a weapon then you would have the religious fanatics going balistic). Bush led us to this mess not President Obama and we were republicans before the but had encough sense not to vote for the village idiot Bush Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    December 27, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. penobscot

    by GOD...down with "YES-MEN" in this country...This government of this country is made up of YES men and that needs to end or we are all doomed and the time is not far off. That should be a new years's resolution for this whole country...STAMP out YES people and think for yourself for a change...these are words of wisdom!!!

    December 27, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. penobscot

    I did not like the Bush administration and do not like the present one either. Matter of fact, we have not had a real president since Harry Truman. He would have gotten rid of this terrorism nonsense in a New York minute!

    December 27, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. penobscot

    the govenrment of the US has been running on autopilot since the end of WWII....I end my speech for today here!

    December 27, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. Scott, Tucson

    In Janet Napolitano eyes, only returning troops and any one who opposes obama's policies are considered terrorists. Yes...we here in Arizona are very glad to be rid of this woman who is now obama's headache.

    December 27, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. TBA

    RNC/GOP/BIRTHERS and Right Wing Extremist is going to use this for elections.

    December 27, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Dave

    It is amusing to read the comments written by the Obama supporters in response to the criticism of the federal government and the failure to connect the dots and protect us from these radical Islamic terrorists. You folks are a riot. Who should we blame if not the federal government and their boss? Last time I checked the president and his administration's job one is to keep us safe from these types of blunders in national security. I guess it is hard to face the facts for the lefties.

    December 27, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  20. john

    How could she possibly know that this isn't a wider plot -how does she know for sure that another 20 fanatics haven't been given the same explosive and told to go for it when they think the time is right ?

    December 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. cgillette369

    what precisely does she know about security?
    the answer is ZERO.
    she is a political a;ppointee.

    most famopus for allowing open borders in Arizona.

    by the way where is her "FAMILY?"

    December 27, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. Chris

    Its disgusting to see all the neo-cons on here appear almost dissappointed the attack didn't succeed. They know if it did it would have been their big opportunity to gloat and point fingers at President Obama. That it would also mean they would be doing it by dancing on the graves of hundreds of innocent Americans doesn't seem to bother them one bit.

    December 27, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Glen Beck is king of the morons

    Glen Beck is probably behind it,so he can sell more gold to the morons that watch his show.hahaha

    December 27, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Danny J

    One of these days, one of these brainwashed individuals will succeed. Let's start protecting ourselves by nixing plan of moving these prisoners to Illinois. That's a standing target.
    Are Republicans gonna utilize this incident? Absolutely. They're going to highlight this administration's ineptitude and hypocrisy, as well they should.

    December 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. jules sand-perkins

    Am I to understand that conservatives are no longer free to speak in this country because hate-based threats of assault?
    That's why we have policepersons, jails, and prisons–at least, until further notice from the administration.

    December 27, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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