Reaction to terror threats is critical

Osama bin Laden is back again and his talk bodes nothing good for the United States.

Bin Laden has taken credit for the Christmas Day bombing attempt aboard a jetliner bound for Detroit, the one in which Farouk Omar Abdulmutallab seriously damaged his nether regions with explosives in his underwear, a technique that earned late-night talk show ridicule.

Soon after Abdulmutallab was taken into custody, he talked readily about his mission — right up until someone read him his Miranda rights, primarily the one about the right to keep silent.

Abdulmutallab took that advice to heart and said nothing.

Bin Laden’s audio message claiming credit for the Christmas Day bombing effort also contained wording that have intelligence-monitoring agencies worried that bin Laden is sending out the message to set loose more attacks by saying, “Peace be upon those who follow guidance.”

Attacks have followed soon after bin Laden has used those words in his cryptic pronouncements.

Earlier this month, Great Britain raised its terror-level threat to “severe.”

We now know that officials at Heathrow Airport in Britain prevented two men on the no-fly list from boarding jets bound for the United States shortly before the threat assessment was increased to the level just short of “critical.”

President Obama has drawn justified criticism since the Christmas Day bombing. First his secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, declared “the system worked” in the incident, a description that she, and the president, later had to repudiate.

Now the president has taken action that will show he takes seriously the threat from bin Laden, al-Qaida and their ilk.

The job is more than intimidating those who would do harm to Americans and the United States.

He also has to reassure rightfully jittery Americans that he will act to keep them safe — no matter what the consequences.


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