I often feel sorry for TSA and the Homeland Security Department. When they are trying hard and nothing happens, everyone makes fun of them for so much futile effort. When they miss something, everyone is angry at them for that.
This time around they really sound a bit strange, because they are doing both of the above. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's father says he has warned many people, including the US embassy. TSA says they didn't have enough evidence to put him on the no-fly list. This have never stopped them before from putting babies and US Senators on that list, but fair enough - maybe they really improved their ways and don't put people on that list without proper evidence, what with being unable to fly being a rather major inconvenience.
We do, however, also have a list people who should be subjected to extra searches and extra questioning. Was he on this list? If not, why not?
The pantybomber was on the UK no-fly list, which is really the UK no-enter list (they are allowed to transit to UK airports but not to enter the country).
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that "the system worked".
Excuse me? Worked? I feel so safe knowing that our system's necessary components include having bad detonators, inept terrorists, and brave Dutch filmmakers sitting in their immediate vicinity.
Happy end is not the same thing as "the system worked". Sometimes it just means the terrorists were not all that bright, and the bystanders happened to have a lot of courage and good reflexes.
Anyway, the new measures include having everyone sit in their seats for the last hour of the flight (AFAIK only in the US, but those things tend to spread around), and having all the luggage in the overhead bins during the same time. Yes, it does mean that you can't have a book, a mp3 player or a blanket. And no, I don't know why only the last hour, but best not to give them any ideas.
The new security measures have already born fruit: they arrested another Nigerian guy on another Amsterdam to Detroit flight, for failing to vacate the toilet when ordered. At first they suspected him of being a terrorist, but then it turned out that he was using the toilet for a much more mundane reason, undoubtedly after sampling a wide selection of Northwest or KLM food.
I am sure all the chronic diarrhea sufferers will thank the pantybomber as they sit in the planes clenching their buttocks and praying for the big white porcelain deliverance. At least they have something they can appropriately deposit on his grave. After he gets one.