Lantier goes on to decipher all the intelligence-ese concluding the inaction to push Abdulmutallab onto the watch-list "came despite the fact that US intelligence agencies were well aware of the threat posed by AQAP." Lantier then acknowledges that "the US government did not declare AQAP a terrorist group until January 19, 2010"!
Ok, enough said about the official explanation. No one appears to have been held responsible for the blatant breach of security. Chertoff's scanners of course have now been funded and scheduled for installation in airports throughout the world.
That change of perspective could be attributed to simple bureaucratic mismanagement or something darker--like disaster capitalism, the classic form of opportunism outlined so eloquently by Naomi Klein, in which government incompetence feeds the impetus to privatize, which ends up costing taxpayers big. Of course the contracts for work previously done by government flows to cronies and those with the most influence--like former officials and politicians.
The process of doling out juicy contracts to the private sector is clearly one that requires close cooperation between government and the private sector, a role that typically calls for former bureaucrats and politicians to act as go-betweens and lobbyists. Naturally career bureaucrats nearing retirement are quite sympathetic to private industry efforts being that many find a second job at companies like Chertoff's once they retire.
The body scanners are a motive that can't be dispelled by simple bureaucratic incompetence. I'd say the enlargement of the National Security State creates demand for terrorism, as if without it the massive bureaucracy would be starved of money, power, and influence. Naturally, with such power at its fingers, the NSS is prone to find threats everywhere; upon discovery of these threats--in places where they're least expected--the NSS justifies an expanded mission for itself.
Scarily, it's only a matter of time before the NSS turns its eyes on the domestic security environment. Creating a surveillance society is clearly one way to find threats: scrutinize any population hard enough and the boogeyman will be surely be found, which invites persecution of minorities, and anyone who dares resist the expanding power of the state.
Lanier ends his article noting similarities between 9-11 and Abdulmutallab's case. In both examples, the intelligence agencies who are supposed to protect us took odd and unusual steps to prevent doing their jobs as effectively as possible. Of course bureaucratic incompetence becomes a great cover whether or not the intelligence lapses were intentional.
Fortunately, the crotch bomber didn't end up killing anyone. Yet we find ourselves wrestling with the explanation of why the event occurred, and discovering lapses in judgement that seem far too deliberate. Yes, it's possible that Abdulmutallab was being farmed along in order to disrupt the organization which radiicalized him, and planned his mission. And I guess the intelligence services would want to see the plan go along, but only up to a point that it doesn't threaten American lives.
At a certain point those responsible for our safety must intervene to stop acts of terror that they know will likely be committed. If they don't maintain an accurate list of radicalized Islamic threats (especially those whose parents specifically warn us, like Omar's) they act not in our defense but in support of the enemy. And if our military and intelligence services aren't protecting us, what good are they?
See Lantier's article here.