December 28th, 2009
09:54 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 12/28/09

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/liveblogfinal.copy.jpg]

The Christmas Day averted terror incident on the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. We're digging deeper into the suspect and his story, examining what went wrong with airport security, and checking in with how President Obama has handled the situation.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. Caroline, Los Angeles

    So here's what they do with the watch lists. You hire a few dozen really fast typists. They enter the names into a database. The database is distributed to all international airports. U.S. pays for the software and computers to allow all airports to use the database (because paying for that is cheaper than going to war with another country).

    Then every time a person buys a ticket for an international flight anywhere in the world the software checks their names against those on the list. You keep some of your database people on to update and amend the database and maintain the software world-wide.

    A system like this would have kept that guy off the plane.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  2. Emily

    listening to Joe Johns here, it sounds like the Terrorists are winning!
    there's so much security, and now not being able to get up in the last hour of flight, etc.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  3. Teena Essang-Ekpo

    I am a Nigerian who like most Nigerians across the globe are very saddened and utterly shocked to hear the news about the young Mutallab's attempt to bring down a US bound plane.
    While questions are being asked and investigations on going, I cannot fathom the reason why his visa issued by the US Consulate was simply not revoked as that would have prevented him from boarding or flying to the United States.
    I also use this medium to say kudos to the father for alerting the authorities though he was not taken seriously. It shows the older Mutallab is a man of intergrity as very few people would have had the courage to rat out their own child.
    Finally, while the young Mutallab was able to pass through security with such a device in Nigeria, what happened in Amsterdam?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  4. charlie

    Fully agree with Brian. Calm considered commentary, and actions to address this as a serious criminal action are useful. Hyper media and political reponses are what the terrorist want, almost as much as death and carnage. Those scare my kids much more than the news of the incident.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  5. ericacnn

    hi, everyone. hope you enjoyed a relaxing weekend and, if you were celebrating, a very merry christmas. i couldn't believe my blackberry when the news crossed xmas afternoon.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  6. Marcia

    Where are the air marshals? Was there an air marshal on the flight from Amsterdam? My friends in the airlines industry claim they haven't seen any in months... Have there been lay offs of air marshalls that have not made the press?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  7. James

    They possibly have a chemist then. How hard is it to find out who he is? Would he also be from Yemen? Where would he have studied? Are their many universities in Yemen or would he have studied abroad?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  8. Lori

    Will the airlines have to start flying with armed security on each flight?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  9. Helen

    Error is human. A bank teller error might deposit money in the wrong account. A doctor error migh kill a patient. A TSA screener error might kill thousand of innocent people. Life is never full proof but minimizing the risk is very very important. We are dealing with many different countries their failures become ours unfortunatly.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  10. Emily


    That is a frightening realization that you had!
    I hope that you enjoyed your trip! 🙂

    I have a feeling with the extra security that they have on now, it would have been found... the fact that it was not, in 2 security points, WOW!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  11. Mike formerly from Syracuse

    I have a knee replacement and always set off the metal detector. Most airports do a thorough wand screen, but 2 weeks ago at Reagan they basically waved me through. I was shocked. This is a DC airport, minutes from the Capitol and White House.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm |
  12. A. Smith, Oregon

    Detonator Cord uses Petn as a filler. Tens of thousands of sites around the world routinely has hundreds of feet of DetCord or PrimaCord on hand. Its common with any commercial road building operations.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  13. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Gady Mayen – Hamilton, Canada
    White House had order more security all the airports... they will more careful attention to check if terrorists there.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  14. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA


    December 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  15. Lori

    I am so glad that everyone on that flight is safe!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  16. d. smith

    If this man had bought a ticket in the U.S. he ever would have made it though security.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  17. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    @Molly, whatever your worse thoughts are about screeners, they're probably true.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  18. henry rugamba

    Hi Erica

    Hello from Kigali Rwanda,

    Terrorists need to wake up to the realisation that as long as they attack innocent people to gain the attention of the ones they really want, their cause will never get the sympathy or understanding they are seeking. Our leaders should never surrender

    December 28, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  19. starr, formerly known as vincent

    PETN looks Very dangerous! That video of the plane was truly frightening.

    Seeing how little powder it takes to cause damage is also scary.

    Great report by Nick Robertson, as always – thanks Nick.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  20. Mike formerly from Syracuse

    How can Napolino say the system worked? It failed miserably. @Jay, I'd feel more at ease with a President who realizes we are at war.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  21. Andrew-Ann Arbor, MI

    It's easy to prevent airplane-based terrorist attacks. Just follow El Al's security procedures.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  22. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Absolutely right! it is Amsterdam's fault, They didn't know that is no name list, How happened like that!!!!! They are learn own lesson right now. They will have taken their responsibility look out for terrorists.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  23. Emily

    OMG! He put that in his underwear looking to blow himself and the plane of passengers up?!

    What a waste and this is SO hard to wrap my mind around!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  24. James

    I would do a body scan. No problem. Do they really need to save the photos though?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  25. pattyanna from mass.

    i think we need more sky marshals on board, especially international flights...

    December 28, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  26. carol

    I came home from florida on christmas eve. i was cleaning out my pocketbook and realized i never took the kitchen knife that i brought home from work out of it. so, i was able to go to florida and come home with a steak knife in my pocketbook. I was able to pass 2 security checkpoints, that even makes me scared now,

    December 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  27. David, Indiana

    No checked luggage, cash for a ticket, possibly no passport? nothing found on the scan or in screening? his father told the US embassy that he was being radicalized? Security wasn't lax Shcipol Airport, just a gaping security chasm.

    Literally every detail in the interview with they young couple and Ms. Keepman is mindblowing.

    Good evening Randi Kaye!

    @Isabel It's true a lot of worries, but we get a break in the action maybe.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  28. Lori

    Every flight I have been on since 911 has been thoroughly checked. I have felt safe when traveling.

    It seems that there could be a better way of tracing listed individuals to focus security efforts.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  29. Emily

    @ Chris Ugwualor,

    Glad to see you on the blog tonight....his family did indeed do a very good thing, and I think that they are getting the credit that they deserve for it!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  30. Caroline, Los Angeles

    Hello Erica and bloggers. I know terrorism will be with us probably forever, but I am so disappointed in the systems we have created to catch international travelers without luggage.

    That seems like a no brainer.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  31. starr, formerly known as vincent

    @David, Indiana, i agree. If we are going to use the body scanner, it must show the entire body.

    As this case demonstrates, the explosive was in the area that modesty would have covered up – thus rendering the scan useless.

    I know it might be embarrasing to many people, but it only takes seconds and no one but the scanners will see. (i don't have the greatest body, but i would undergo a total body scan for the safety of a plane ride.)

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  32. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    @Mike...I just don;' understand WHY we even bother with our current security system when there are so many holes because we refused to use all the appropriate equipment. We're just asking for trouble AND employing a bunch of people to assure us of absolutely nothing.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  33. pattyanna from mass.

    we all deserve to be safe while flying, so go with the new rules,like it or not.................................

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  34. Damian

    I flew from Brussels to D.C. on Saturday the 26th and the security in Brussels was a joke. Nobody had to take their shoes off or take their belts off, the xray machine operator was distracted and laughing with his coworkers while bags were going through the xray machine – meaning they were essentially unchecked. I watched as one woman who failed the metal detector several times simply say that her belt was responsible and the security person nodded and let her go. No wand, nothing. My recent experiences with international travel leave me with the impression that other countries are not as concerned about terrorism on their soil or on their planes – so they simply don't care (as much). It's an uneasy feeling.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  35. Greg L

    It seems Ironic to me that your 10:30PM commercial during the AC360 show about the terrorist act onboard the Christmas day Delta flight from Amsterdam was for the "Yoshiknife" – a "sharper than steel" CERAMIC knife. The irony: it is ceramic – undetectable by most airport security equipment! I have seen these adds for the last two weeks and from the very first one I have worried about such promotion for such a security risk!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  36. William

    All passengers should be required to bring a change of clothes and change into them before the flight. Of coarse both sets of clothes would be thoroughly screened.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  37. Kelly

    Has anyone asked the question how come nobody from the Amsterdam International Airport has made a statement? It was their airport where the security breach happened, so what is their answer to all this? I've always heard in the past that Schiphol (AMS) was one of the most secure airports in Europe, even more so than Frankfurt Intl.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  38. Jay - Memphis, TN

    All I have to say is that I feel much more at ease in this situation with Obama as president.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  39. Donald

    It looks like Al-Qaeda is proud of this failed attack by claiming responsibility for it.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  40. Isabel Siaba (Brazil)

    I can not live without my iPhone!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  41. Emily

    did they spend Cash or CHARGE it?!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  42. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    @Gady, pursuant to your comment I'm now thinking about the use of electronics on planes and wonder how can security possibly screen any electronic equipment (from phones to iPods to computers) and be certain none of those pose a threat?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  43. Michelle

    The president did release a statement on Christmas
    day personally I am not fearful.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  44. Emily

    This is Amsterdam's fault!
    He got on a plane over seas in Amsterdam!
    He did not leave from an American Airport!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  45. Dulcie - Denver

    @ Chris U from Nigeria:

    I applaud and sympathise with the young man's father and I understand why Nigeria feels ashamed of this incident. However, we've got plenty of our own crazies in our country too. I do not blame Nigeria for this. The media has made clear to me that he was radicalized outside of Nigeria and never spent much time there.

    Thank you for stepping forward.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  46. Stacy

    @Helen: Exactly. We should not be depending on scanners. It's been eight years since 9-11. It's ridiculous that we still don't have a streamlined system to ensure would-be terrorists never get to the point of that last line of defense.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  47. starr, formerly known as vincent

    Although i agree that security appears to have been lax re: this Christmas incident, i really don't know how we (all countries) can establish a completely fool proof system to keep terrorists off planes.

    It is obvious however, thay we certainly need to do much more than we are doing.

    I applaud the father for contacting authorities about his concerns about his son becoming radical. Now, if only more people listened and moved a little faster.

    December 28, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  48. Soheil Adib

    I have travelled to Amsterdam about 5 times so far and the security guards seems to be contracted by the airport and are not government or airport staff. The security is pretty relaxed and with the high load of passengers they get so busy and the work quality is slackly!

    Soheil from BC. Canada

    December 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  49. Mike formerly from Syracuse

    There are electronic 'sniffers' that can detect the smallest trace of explosives, even in sealed containers. Why aren't they at use?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  50. Emily

    Those x-ray scan machines, that leave "nothing" to the imagination, they are already in some airports around the world!

    I read about them earlier this year, and they really show everything!

    December 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
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