Steven Emerson in the Media
Terrorist Attack Thwarted
DAVE BRIGGS: Welcome back to Fox and Friends on this day after Christmas. This morning we are learning new information on the suspected terrorist who allegedly tried to light an explosive device on a commercial airliner. The 23 year old Nigerian native claims he had ties to Al Qaeda but does this plot resemble Al Qaeda's other attacks?
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Let's bring in Terror Analyst and author of the book "Jihad Incorporated," Steven Emerson. Nice to see you, I guess we just have to realize we still have to worry about terrorism. This is just a reminder. Do you agree?
STEVEN EMERSON: I agree 100% and the question about whether this is Al Qaeda's M.O., modus operandi, is a good one. Al Qaeda is a very adaptive organization. It's constantly testing the perimeters of U.S. security. So they're always trying to figure out new ways to basically neutralize U.S. security measures and obviously as they did with Richard Reed eight years ago, they've figured out a new way of smuggling explosives onto an airline now that could have had a catastrophic effect had the bomb actually gone off.
CLAYTON MORRIS: Ok, there are a couple of major questions that stand out to us this morning. Number one, it appears he was in a federal database here in the United States. Ok.
MORRIS: If that's the case, why then wasn't there a coordinated effect amongst security teams from around the world looking at these alleged terrorists? How did this guy slip through the cracks?
EMERSON: Well, he was in what is called the TIDES database, T-I-D-E-S database, and that's an initial database of people that have intelligence coming in on them that's not corroborated, that they're connected to terrorists. So, he wasn't watchlisted and remember there have been so many complaints about quote, profiling by quote Islamic Civil Rights groups that they stopped basically profiling and that basically lead to not putting this guy onto the terrorist watchlist. There would have been too much of an outcry. Number two, he was put on in the last month, so that means U.S. intelligence-look at the flip side-U.S. intelligence is pretty good in terms of getting the information that's very current. I mean to get someone who is affiliated of Al Qaeda within a month of his affiliation is pretty good for an intelligence agency.
BRIGGS: Steven, this flight was from Amsterdam to Detroit but it appears that this 23 year old boarded in Nigeria. What are the problems that emerge when you are talking about flights originating out of countries such as Nigeria? From what we understand the security is lax to say the least.
EMERSON: Actually, you're 100% right. It's lax in Nigeria and the FAA has actually listed the Nigerian airport as an airport that has lacked security measures. You know that's a real problem. In fact we are going to discover that is the weak loophole in terms of international security for U.S. airlines around the world is countries that have weak enforcement systems like Nigeria, where this man boarded obviously and was able to smuggle on and infiltrate or neutralize the security system. Whatever they had in place there. So that's a real problem. They may have to actually sever direct ties with those airports if they don't clean up their act.
CAMEROTA: What do you see the TSA doing to address this incident to deal with it?
EMERSON: Look, remember that after Richard Reed boarded the aircraft with explosives in his shoe, they instituted new measures to basically mandate taking off your shoes and inspecting the heels of the shoes in case they were hollowed out to carry explosives. And they also stop you after three years ago, after the plot in London to smuggle explosives through liquid explosives onto airlines, so I think we are going to see now new efforts to monitor bringing on powders that can be mixed and combined into incendiary mixes.
MORRIS: So, Steven, does that mean-I hate to be so graphic, but I mean this thing was strapped to his leg. Does this mean we're going to have to take off our pants or have to hike up our pant leg now from now on and have people checking that?
EMERSON: Well, I think they are going to have to ratchet up the actual surveillance aspect of the detection systems so they can actually see what type of plastics or any other types of devices are wrapped around our limbs. You can ratchet up the security of the detection equipment, then you see everything and then it becomes too intrusive. They're going to have to find the right balance.
MORRIS: Steven Emerson, the book is called "Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the United States." Thanks for coming on this morning and sharing your thoughts. We appreciate it, Steven.
EMERSON: You got it. Thank you.
Note: The content of external articles does not necessarily reflect the views of Steven Emerson.