WASHINGTON -- NFL. Not the National Football League -- the "no-fly list." Here's what you need to know about it: It doesn't work. No matter what the Obama administration claims, putting a name on the "NFL roster" doesn't mean an Islamic terrorist can't buy an airline ticket and get on a commercial airline flight.
The NFL didn't work on Christmas Day to stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underpants bomber, from getting aboard a flight to Detroit while wearing his defective homemade bomb. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano initially said the attempt to bring down a commercial airliner had been "foiled" and described the Nigerian terrorist as a "lone wolf" who "slipped through" the security net. None of that was true. President Barack Obama refused to call the botched bombing an act of Islamic terror but eventually acknowledged a "systemic failure" in airline security procedures and pledged immediate "repairs." They haven't worked.
Four months on, the "fixes" to the NFL didn't stop Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square May Day bomber, from paying cash for a one-way ticket to Pakistan, getting a boarding pass and taking a seat on an Emirates airlines flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport two days after his car bomb failed to detonate. In Iraq and Afghanistan, our troops call these kinds of merciless weapons VBIEDs -- vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices. They call the people who make them terrorists.
The morning after the Times Square VBIED was hauled away by the New York Police Department's bomb squad, Napolitano called the then unnamed suspect a "one-off." Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., described him as a "lone wolf." Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., postulated that the Pakistani-born naturalized American bomb builder was motivated by a cartoon show on television. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested the bomber was "a mentally deranged person" who "doesn't like the health care bill or something." They were all wrong.
The O-Team, distracted by accusations that it was slow in responding to the Gulf Coast oil spill and flooding in Tennessee that killed scores and cost billions in property damage, was caught flat-footed. On May 3, while NYPD officers and FBI agents were racing to find the Times Square bomber, Obama promised, "We're going to do what's necessary to protect the American people, to determine who is behind this potentially deadly act and to see that justice is done." As we have come to expect from this president, there was no mention of the attempted bombing's being Islamist terror.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.