Our nation’s ass-clown Secretary of Homeland Security assures us that the fact that NWA flight 253 DIDN’T go down in flames proves “the system works.”
Let’s see, an individual with more red flags than a May Day parade gets a multiple entry visa to the US even though: (a) he’s on a terrorist watch list, (b) has been denied a visa to the UK where he studied for several years, and (c) his own old man has told the US ambassador to Nigeria that the guy is an extremist. He makes it through security in two airports with high explosive crammed around his package. He gets approval to board a flight to the US after the government reviewed the passenger manifest.
If that’s the system working, God help us when it doesn’t. Just like with Robert Richard Reid (h/t KMcC), the only thing standing between in air immolation of hundreds was the abject incompetence of the would be bomber.
Relying on the stupidity of one’s enemies is not a system.
You want to know how the system works? I’ll tell you how the system works.
In June, on a family trip to Italy, Mrs. SWP really got to like fresh Italian tomatoes, and got the idea to bring home some seeds to grow in her garden. I wondered whether it was OK to bring in seeds, so I checked on the Customs Department website, which said that seeds were on the “General List of Approved Products.” Thinking it was OK, we bought a couple of packages. We were good boys and girls, and declared them on our Customs form. We were pulled aside when we went through Customs, and were told that no seeds were not allowed. l mentioned the web page, but to no avail.
But because we’d declared something, the Customs people went through all our baggage. On the plane, we’d been given a snack, including a ham sandwich sealed in a plastic wrapper. I wasn’t hungry, so I had put it in one of the carry-ons.
Big mistake. A Customs agent said I was trying to bring meat into the country against the law. I was nonplussed, as the damn thing had been given to me on the plane, and there had been no mention that was verboten. But the agent relented, saying that since we’d been honest about declaring the seeds, she’d let me slide this time and not have to pay a $250 fine. How big of her.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Each of the three times I have come back into the country since, I’ve had the Immigration agent draw a big black mark on my Customs form. When I get to Customs, they pull me aside and go through my stuff. The first time this happened, I quite politely asked two different agents what was going on, and received abuse–yes, smart-assed abuse–in return.
So that’s how the “system works.” American citizens who accidentally bring a ham sandwich off an airliner have a harder time getting into the country than does a foreigner with known terrorist connections and Pentaerythritol tetranitrate jammed up against his junk.