- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The underwear bomber. The crotch attack. He was caught “thumbing through his briefs.” Ah, the comedic underpinnings of the foiled Northwest Airlines attack just keep multiplying. The panty factor has so fixated the global press, in fact, that more than 12,000 stories have appeared in the past 48 hours centered upon the fact that the deadly incendiary device was embedded in some tighty-whities.

ABC News breathlessly announced Monday night that it had obtained “exclusive” photos of the “accused bomber’s underwear, explosive packet and detonator.” How the network obtained the images remained undercover.

The Christmas Day event and the federal response to it are already devolving into farce. Meanwhile, comedian Andy Borowitz suggests that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano simply issue terrorists an official “proof of terrorism” ID card and be done with it

“All potential terrorists must have the terrorist ID card in order to be barred from boarding. If you want to get on the no-fly list you’ll need a completed application and the $25 fee,” Mr. Borowitz says. “In the future, it will be necessary for a terrorist’s mom and dad to warn us before we take it seriously,” he says.

Banning in-flight bathroom use is also a sound idea: “One thing every terrorist has in common is that they eventually need to pee.”


Well, maybe. In a post-Flight 253 world, the nation is receiving a crash course on full-body scanners, the high-tech devices that reveal what’s really under a passenger’s clothes. The devices are fast becoming the must-have items for every airport on the planet as lawmakers, federal officials and interest groups plead for no-nonsense security.

And the buzz: Value is rising among scanner manufacturers such as L-3 Communications Holdings and OSI Systems Inc. - which saw its stock jump by 11 percent a day after the foiled attack, the biggest percentage gain in 11 months.

“OSI’s Rapiscan unit makes machines that can detect liquids and other potential explosives beneath passengers’ clothing. In October, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration placed an order valued at $25 million for Rapiscan’s imaging equipment,” says Angela Greiling Keane of Business Week.


“I survived the 2000’s and all I got was this lousy bumper sticker.”

- a bumper sticker spotted in Annandale, Va.


He sold his cellular-phone pictures taken during the aforementioned incident to several news organizations for a reported $18,000.

But Jasper Schuringa - the Dutch passenger who grappled with the would-be bomber and was burned in the process - did not catch any flak for his enterprise. The news sources, which included CNN, also escaped criticism. Not so NBC, which has drawn the ire of a most hoity-toity source in a different big-news story.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee reports that it is “appalled NBC News breached widely accepted ethical journalism guidelines” by providing a company jet to ferry David Goldman and his son Sean back to the U.S. from Brazil after a high-profile custody battle.

The network got the exclusive, of course, in a classic example of “checkbook journalism.”

“By making itself part of a breaking-news story on which it was reporting - apparently to cash in on the exclusivity assured by its expensive gesture - NBC jeopardized its journalistic independence and credibility,” the group explains.

“The public could rightly assume that NBC News bought exclusive interviews and images, as well as the family’s loyalty, with an extravagant gift,” says Andy Schotz, chairman of the ethics committee.


“Republicans have a simple plan this New Year’s Eve. Instead of flipping the calendar ahead to 2010, they’re hoping to flip it backwards by about eight years,” says Democratic strategist Paul Begala in a new fundraising outreach to fellow party members.

“This year, Republicans have spent every day waging the same all-out war on the middle class that they started at the very hour that George W. Bush came into office,” Mr. Begala continues. “They see 2010 as their chance to go back in time. … Their plan is to bring back the old, failed Bush policies that drove our economy off the cliff, complete with high deficits, high unemployment, and handing out tax cuts to the fat cats at the very top.”

Gee, seems like old times.

“It’s still all about Bush,” sighs the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez. “The Left should take some of its own advice: MOVEON.”


• 79 percent of U.S. voters now think it is likely there will be another terrorist attack in the U.S. in the next year.

• 12 percent say another terrorist attack is not likely.

• 83 percent say they are following news reports about the foiled Northwest Airlines bombing.

• 48 percent say that it is “the responsibility” of American Muslims to speak out against terrorist attacks on the U.S.

• 51 percent oppose relocating some suspected terrorist prisoners from Guantanamo to a stateside facility.

• 51 percent oppose the Obama administration’s decision to try the confessed chief planner of the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist suspects in a New York City civilian court.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted Sunday.

Party lines, party hats, party invitations to jharper@washington times.com

• Jennifer Harper INSIDE THE BELTWAY can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.old.

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