9/11 commission chairman says would-be plane bomber ‘did us a favor’
The Republican chairman of the Bush Administration’s 9/11 Commission declared Sunday that the would-be-terrorist who tried to blow up a plane en route to Detroit “probably did us a favor.”
The GOP chairman’s quote raised eyebrows; by his logic, the Sept. 11, 2001 attackers may also have “done us a favor” by drawing US attention to extremism in Afghanistan.
Thomas Kean, a former governor of New Jersey, made the remarks on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday talk show.
The onetime governor said Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian who failed to detonate an incendiary device on a passenger plane, “probably did us a favor.”
“We had an administration which was not focused, as it should be, on terrorism and that’s understandable,” Kean told CNN. “They were focused on health care and global warming and the economy. That’s very understandable.
“Secondly, we weren’t really focused on Yemen and the terrible things that are happening there,” Kean added. “Now we are and that’s a good thing. And, thirdly, there were holes obviously and the [intelligence gathering] system wasn’t working well. We found out it wasn’t working well and the president understands it’s not working well and now we’re focused on fixing it.”