Responding to Republican charges that Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad’s plot failed only because of luck, Rep. Ike Skelton, Missouri Democrat, said, “What’s wrong with being lucky?”
Nothing at all - until the luck runs out.
Two potentially devastating terror attacks in five months failed only because of terrorist incompetence. Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was unable to ignite his suicide bomb, sparing the lives of passengers on Northwest Airlines Flight 253. Had Mr. Shahzad’s car bomb been assembled with greater care, hundreds of people at Times Square might have been killed or wounded. They were lucky, indeed.
There was only bad luck for the victims of Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. Luck also ran out for the victims of Arkansas recruiting station shooter Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad. Each of these recent incidents reminds us that policies pursued by the Obama administration have made the United States measurably less safe from terrorist attacks.
Consider the contribution administration policies may have made to the near success of Mr. Shahzad’s attack. It was reported last week that Mr. Shahzad was on the Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Enforcement Compliance System list as late as 2008. The Obama administration removed him from that list. He also was under scrutiny of the national Joint Terrorism Task Force until the Obama administration waved it off the case.
Mr. Shahzad was being watched for very good reasons. Like Maj. Hasan and Mr. Abdulmutallab, he had ties to American-born Muslim radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. He had family connections to the Mehsud clan, which plays a leading role in the Pakistan Taliban. He traveled regularly to the Pakistani frontier area, which is the epicenter of violent religious extremism in that country. None of these things automatically made him a terrorist, but they did provide a rational basis for keeping a close watch on Mr. Shahzad. The Obama administration disagrees with the rationale, apparently obsessed with downplaying the possibility that any Muslim could ever be a domestic terrorist. It is the Obama team’s perverse twist on racial and ethnic profiling.
These disturbing revelations about the case of Mr. Shahzad raise pertinent questions regarding U.S. domestic security. Who gave the order to shut down surveillance of Mr. Shahzad? Who removed him from the Traveler Enforcement Compliance System list? Who else has been removed from this and other lists and why? Were they removed simply because they were Muslims and the administration believed that ipso facto they were being persecuted unfairly ? What have they been up to since being freed of government scrutiny?
A top-to-bottom review of all such actions taken by the Obama administration is in order. The public deserves to know whether policy directives given since Mr. Obama took office materially contributed to the near success of Mr. Shahzad’s terror plot. There is nothing wrong with luck. With this president, America needs all the luck it can get.