The suspect was reportedly cleared after being reckoned “legitimately ill” by authorities. And, as I understand it, the new rule since Christmas is you can't leave your seat one hour before landing, which could leave many passengers caught short when needing the facilities.
Everything was the same: airline, flight number, departure airport, arrival airport.
And a similar suspect: a Nigerian man who was using the bathroom for a long period of time, just as authorities said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab did before he detonated an explosive on the flight Friday.
I would never go so far as to say there are no coincidences, but there is still information that hasn’t been reported, like whether this suspect was on a watch list himself, or had been in Yemen recently. And there is still the fact that they went over the plane with a fine-tooth comb after, and I don’t think they were looking for evidence of digestive upset. Not every question has been answered.
Rep. Peter King said on Fox News this morning that even the Congressional committees on which he sits must depend on the White House for intelligence information, and the White House refuses to disclose quite a bit. King said the White House still hasn’t disclosed everything about Fort Hood. The Department of Homeland Security doesn’t tell us everything.
All that aside, and assuming the complete innocence of yesterday’s Nigerian passenger, it's clear the airline crew, airline authorities, and law enforcement officials were completely correct in their response. In view of what almost happened on Christmas, it would have been beneath despicable for anyone responsible for passenger safety to have given yesterday’s passenger a pass from fear of profiling.
Not that those charges aren’t already flying. According to today’s Detroit Free Press:
Who said yesterday’s passenger was profiled based on ethnicity and religion? He was a disruptive passenger, locked in the bathroom for an hour, and refusing to respond to flight crew. That is behavior, not ethnic nor religious profiling.
The detainment raised some concerns within the Nigerian and Muslim communities."We're concerned about any security threats," Dawud Walid, head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Sunday, though he's also concerned about profiling innocent people based on ethnicity and religion, such as in Sunday's incident.
And Walid, of course, doesn’t mean it when he tells Free Press readers that CAIR is "concerned about any security threats." No sooner had the report of the Flight 253 déjà vu gone out than Walid was on his blog, describing yesterday’s incident as an example of “Flying while Nigerian?”.
I guess Farouk Mutallab isn’t the only one whose pants are on fire.
When Walid’s addressing the “community,” he will never acknowledge there are legitimate concerns about security threats. On his blog, for example, Walid condemns heightened security measures after the failed Christmas attack as “hysteria.” The closer look officials took at yesterday's disruptive passenger was “profiling.”
When flight crews and security officials are on alert that’s “hysteria.” When Al Qaeda manages its most successful attempt to attack us on our own soil since 9/11 , that’s an “unfortunate incident” that should not call forth increased vigilance.
Makes you wonder what CAIR’s priorities are.