Underwear bomber planners were Gitmo alums

ABC reports that al Qaeda Leaders Behind Terror Plot Were Released by U.S.:

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

Both Saudi nationals have since emerged in leadership roles in Yemen, according to U.S. officials and the men's own statements on al Qaeda propaganda tapes.

Combating terrorism with art therapy classes! We had these guys in custody! We are planning to let more of them out! The terrorists seem to be so much smarter than we are.

The Underwear Bomber

We have had the Shoe Bomber. Now we have the Underwear Bomber. The jihadist from Nigeria who was set to take down an airliner flying into Detroit hid the explosives in his underwear. Go here for the pictures if you can handle them. His tactic was to ignite the explosives, which were more than enough to blow a hole in the airplane, by covering up with a blanket and then using a plastic syringe (how did he get that onboard?) to inject acid into the packet. Fortunately, he did it incorrectly, so instead of blowing up, the chemical explosives just caught on fire.

So now will Homeland Security make passengers remove their underwear and put it, along with their shoes and belt, into one of those bins to be X-rayed? I guess they are now pushing for the equivalent, the virtual strip search of the full-body scans. But I wonder if visual detection is even enough. Plastic explosives can be made to look like all kinds of things. Either that or the X-rays could go through them like they do clothing.

The apprehended terrorist says that Yemen is full of others just like him who are also planning to attack us in this way. How can this be defended against? Explosive-sniffing dogs would help, if we had enough of them. Also those chemical-detecting swabs that are currently only used to check random computers. There are those scanners that you go in and get puffed with a blow of air, which detect for chemicals. That’s probably the best and least intrusive–though most expensive–measure.

But isn’t it time to zero in on possible terrorists, rather than applying preventive measures to every passenger? How might we craft a way to target individuals without violating their civil rights?