Why Obama Didn’t Blow the Failed Christmas Terror Plot Out of Proportion
Marc Ambinder has a good post explaining the president’s behavior after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried and failed to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Friday:
Here’s the theory: a two-bit mook is sent by Al Qaeda to do a dastardly deed. He winds up neutering himself. Literally.
Authorities respond appropriately; the president (as this president is wont to to) presides over the federal response. His senior aides speak for him, letting reporters know that he’s videoconferencing regularly, that he’s ordering a review of terrorist watch lists, that he’s discoursing with his secretary of Homeland Security.
But an in-person Obama statement isn’t needed; Indeed, a message expressing command, control, outrage and anger might elevate the importance of the deed, would generate panic (because Obama usually DOESN’T talk about the specifics of cases like this, and so him deciding to do so would cue the American people to respond in a way that exacerbates the situation).
Indeed. There was a mini-freakout yesterday, largely confined to cable news and Twitter, when another Nigerian passenger on a plane with the same flight number locked himself in the bathroom. It turned out the guy wasn’t feeling well. But would it have been better if Obama made some grandiose statement after an aspiring terrorist demonstrates that his capabilities are inferior to airline passengers?