It’s hard to come up with a foolproof system, but airline and government officials in the United States and elsewhere are going to have to do something after a failed effort to bring down a U.S. airliner.

It appears again the system failed to stop someone who should have been flagged as suspicious.
On Christmas Day, a 23-year-old Nigerian named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up an airliner as it approached Detroit.

Abdulmutallab was in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, which does not trigger mandatory additional airport screening. He also came to the attention of U.S. intelligence when his father reported to the American Embassy in Nigeria about his son’s increasingly extremist religious views.

In Britain, he had been placed on a watch list of people whose visa applications were rejected, but he was not flagged as a potential terror suspect.

And, he was able to get aboard the plane with a small bag of liquid and powder explosive materials. The device ended up bursting into flames when the plane approached Detroit, and Abdulmutallab was subdued by passengers.

Something went wrong, and in the airline business something like that cannot continue to go wrong. There are too many lives at stake.

As of now, security has been stepped up. Sure it’s an inconvenience to plane passengers, but what alternative is there?
We need to continue to strengthen the screening process and take seriously people on watch lists.

The editorial that appears above was first printed on Dec. 28 in The Enid News & Eagle in Enid, OK. It was reprinted here with permission from The Associated Press. The views expressed in the editorial do not necessarily reflect those of the South Florida Times.