With regards to the would-be Christmas bomber, Janet Napolitano, the current Secretary of Homeland Security, declares "the system worked." On the other had, (a) the security screening failed to find his bomb, (b) her department failed to put the known and Al Qaeda-trained terrorist on its no-fly list and (c) the only reason the plane's passengers survived was because one passenger, a Dutch film maker, spotted the smoke and disarmed the bomb. Even CNN had a hard time swallowing the administration's spin. Michelle Malkin summarizes Sec. Napolitano's first year:
Beginning with her embrace of the impotent euphemism “man-caused disasters” to the hit job on conservatives and veterans that she was forced to apologize for, to her assertion that crossing the border illegally “isn’t a crime per se”, to her boneheaded claim that 9/11 terrorists came in through the Canadian border, Ja-No has confirmed time and again that she’s not ready for prime time.The TSA's response, which is to promote new rules, limiting passenger access to pillows and bathrooms breaks, seems hopelessly ineffective.
The solution for effective aircraft security, as Israel discovered decades ago, is not so much to look for weapons or bombs as it is to look for terrorists. Passengers are screened verbally. In this case, the would-be terrorist, even if it wasn't known that his father told the US he was a likely terrorist, should have been easily spotted: "he claimed to be traveling to Detroit for two weeks to visit friends, but had no luggage with him beyond a small carry-on."