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Kristol: "The System Worked"

10:01 AM, Dec 28, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded the obvious this morning:

"WASHINGTON (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano conceded Monday that the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watchlist with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit....

A day after saying the system worked, Napolitano backtracked, saying her words had been taken out of context.

"Our system did not work in this instance," she said on NBC's "Today" show. "No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is under way....."

On Sunday, Napolitano said, "One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked." On Monday, she said she was referring to the system of notifying other flights as well as law enforcement on the ground about the incident soon after it happened."

So the first reaction of law enforcement authorities Saturday is that the terrorist probably acted alone, and of course to deal with the attacker legally as a criminal, not an enemy combatant. Then the Homeland Security head says Sunday the system worked. Meanwhile, "the system" has decided that airplane passengers can't get up in the last hour of their flights -- a truly classic, idiotic, bureaucratic reaction. And we're still trying to get those Gitmo detainees back to Yemen.

The more one learns about everything we did and didn't do before and after the terror attack, the more one has to conclude that the whole FBI/TSA/Obama administration law-enforcement "system" is deeply flawed. Obama should order a comprehensive re-thinking of the whole approach -- not just a bureacuratic "review" of the details of this incident. If he doesn't, then it's his system -- and he'll be responsible for future examples of how well it "works."