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We're at war with terrorists, so let's focus sensibly

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

How many red flags had to be raised before the U.S. government and Northwest Airlines saw danger in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's intent to down the airliner ("Terrorism Attempt Fails on Jetliner Over Detroit," Dec. 26)? The first red flag was waved by his own father who warned the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria of his son's radicalization and potential threat to the United States. The airlines should have seen red flags when Abdulmutallab purchased expensive tickets with cash and did not check luggage for a three-continent trip.

Why didn't the airline notify appropriate authorities of these suspicious actions? The only additional red flag Abdulmutallab could have waved would be to call the American Embassy in Yemen and the U.S Justice Department and say "My name is Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and I will be boarding flight No. 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit carrying petin sewn into my underwear by al-Qaida. It is my intent to detonate the explosive upon landing at Detroit."

We are at war. The United States has to rethink its policy regarding profiling. The United States should concentrate and, yes, profile instead of wasting time and expense on obviously harmless people. For those being profiled, if you have nothing to hide why do you care? Some of the actions of the Transportation Security Administration are absurd.

I am 77, have a pacemaker and ask not to go through airport detectors. The last time I flew out of Norfolk with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson I was thoroughly searched from head to toe. I saw a sailor's wife, who was traveling with three small children, have her baggage completely emptied and examined. Highly unlikely terrorists.

While Abdulmutallab failed in his mission -- al-Qaida did not. They created more expense for land and air security, caused a backlog for the airlines and more aggravation and concern for travelers.

It's time for the United States to get tougher. Learn from the Israeli airline security officials.

ALEX J. VALLAS
Plum


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