Homeland Security Chair: Lap Bomber Could Block Gitmo Closure

Failed Attacker's Amazing Clout Grows

For a man whose major accomplishment is setting his own lap on fire with a condom full of explosives, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s influence on American policy both foreign and domestic has positively exploded.

Not only has he managed to force a major crackdown by the TSA, including a virtual ban on laptop computers and most carry-on luggage, he is also setting the stage for a war against Yemen based purely on his claims that he was there at one point.

But if that wasn’t enough, House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) now says Abdulmutallab may further delay President Barack Obama’s already broken promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Several Republican Congressmen have also chimed in, declaring the lap bomber as reason enough all by himself not to close the detention center, essentially ever. Can one man really have this much power?

Adding to the fuel to keep the facility open, ABC News even claims that a pair of former detainees are to blame for the plot. The logic is convoluted: two former detainees were shipped to Saudi Arabia for “art therapy” and eventually went to Yemen, where officials say they joined al-Qaeda. Abdulmutallab has apparently been to Yemen and claims to be in al-Qaeda. Somehow, this “connection” has been seized upon eagerly, and with the bombs already falling on Yemen (for weeks before the attack, for what that’s worth) the need to manufacture a ex post facto justification has pundits in high gear.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.