What if Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had succeeded in detonating his bomb and had brought down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas day?
There are a few things we know:
1. Some 300 innocent people on board the airliner–passengers and crew–would have perished.
2. The fact that Abdulmutallab had waited until the aircraft was on approach very possibly meant that it was flying over a populated area at the time. This was almost certainly planned. Had he detonated the device over the Atlantic Ocean, it would have killed everyone on board, but there would have been no TV video footage of the carnage and the possibility of additional innocent victims on the ground would have been eliminated. Had Abdulmutallab succeeded in blowing open the fuselage of the Airbus airliner, it could very easily have come down in whole or in parts over homes and more people would have been killed.
The only thing that prevented Christmas 2009 from becoming the most infamous in US history was either Abdulmutallab’s incompetence or faulty explosive equipment.
But there is one other thing that we can be almost certain of had Abdulmutallab succeeded in blowing up that airplane: today, 28 December 2009, 3 days later, members of the news media would be reading press releases from the White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI declaring that there is “no indication of terrorist involvement.”
Janet Napolitano, the same woman who would have us believe that our security “system worked like clockwork” in this attack, would be on our television screens with the comforting words that “there is no evidence that this tragedy was a terrorist attack.”
Ill-fated Flight 253 would have been reported as a “crash.”
Would the NTSB and FBI have eventually determined beyond a shadow of a doubt that a bomb brought down 253? Probably. But that would have been months after the fact and critics would have debated the evidence any way.
Meanwhile, the breakdowns which allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to get on board Flight 253 with a US visa may never have been identified and fixed…