Perhaps I was being a bit too fatalistic yesterday about the attempted terrorist attack on that Northwest flight next week. Comes word from across the pond that the Brits were well aware of Abdulmutallab.
The British government said Monday that it rejected an application by the Nigerian man accused in the failed Detroit airliner bombing plot for a renewed student visa in May, and that he was placed on an official watch list to prevent him from re-entering Britain.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said Mr. Abdulmutallab’s application to renew his student visa was rejected in May after officials had determined that the academic course he gave as his reason for returning to Britain was fake. The secretary said the suspect was then placed on the watch list, a procedure that would normally involve informing American authorities of the action Britain had taken.
I got to say it's a bit hard to understand how if the British had banned Abdulmutallab from entering the country that information wasn't transmitted to US officials and acted on. It's one thing if the intelligence community picks up vague threats a mere few weeks ago. I understand that it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, but if an allied government is not letting this guy in the country how does that not set off alarm bells among US officials? Maybe he doesn't go on the no-fly list, but at the very least you'd think he would get an extra once-over before he boards a plane to the United States.