Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said early on that there was no indication that the man who tried to destroy an airliner in Detroit on Christmas Day is part of a larger terrorist plot.
But then who jumped up to offer a rebuttal? Al-Qaida! Not only did the terrorist group affirm its role in the thwarted bombing, and that hundreds more are waiting to attack, but it mocked U.S. effectiveness in the war on terror:
"Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, they said, 'dealt a huge blow to the myth of American and global intelligence services and showed how fragile its structure is,' " The Wall Street Journal reported.
It's bad when the terrorists are laughing at you. It gets worse when you learn this: The New York Times reported Tuesday that the U.S. government had intelligence from Yemen before Christmas that leaders of an al-Qaida branch there discussed "a Nigerian" being prepared for a terrorist attack.
If that and other key information had been shared among intelligence agencies, it would have been taken as a clear warning sign that a terror plot was coming, a senior Obama official told the Times .
That kind of mismanagement isn't merely shameful -- it's potentially deadly.
We know the Obama administration has a titanic policy to-do list, but shouldn't "protecting citizens from terrorism" be at or at least near the top of that list?
Maybe that's the problem. The list is too long.
Don't sweat all the details. Get back to the basics.
Maybe the U.S. president -- not just this one -- is trying to do too much when they're attempting to see to such minutiae as the weatherization of American homes.
Maybe they should go back to the constitutional duties of the chief executive, foremost of which is to protect the American people from enemies foreign and domestic.
Maybe then America can get the last laugh with terrorists instead of the other way around.