Wolffe

"Conspiracy or cock up?" White House reaction to ersatz bomber

Michael Collins

The underpants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is a curious
terrorist.  He became disillusioned with his privileged life as the son
of a bank chairman and member of the Nigerian elite, it would seem. 
Rather than pursuing his studies in London, he retreated to Yemen to
learn the ways of al Qaeda inspired terrorism.

Farouk was so indiscreet that his father reported him
to the U.S. Embassy as a potential terrorist in November.   A month
later, he managed to get on a jumbo jet headed for Detroit to complete
a terror mission.   Despite his training in engineering at the
prestigious London School of Economics, Farouk failed
in his mission.  He couldn't  mix his explosives to achieve the desired
effect.  He apparently forgot to detonate the explosive device in mid
flight, waiting until just before landing in Detroit to start his
task.  He retrieved and set off the chemicals to create the explosion
in full view of passengers.

What kind of terrorist is this?  He doesn't know when, how or where to conduct his criminal enterprise.

Is this the best al Qaeda can do?