; How Not to Respond
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How Not to Respond


Abdulmutallab was initially painted by the administration as an "isolated extremist" who had managed to sneak explosives past the standard screening process, The Washington Post ran a bizarre Page 1 article that quoted some of his adolescent FaceBook ramblings on loneliness and his inability to find a true Muslim friend. Perhaps the Post's premise was he was the first young man from a wealthy family sent to another country for schooling who felt lonely.

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									Cool as McCumber

     How Not to Respond
                                                                                              For those looking for a crash course on
                                                                                           what not to do in the wake of a serious
                                                                                           security breach, there could be no better
                                                                                           case study. Here are some key takeaways
                                                                                           for security professionals:
                                                        By John McCumber                      • After a serious incident such as
                                                                                           this, don’t run out and try to tell your
                                                                                           constituents that your security program

                ithin hours of Umar Farouk                                                 worked just dandy. Whom are they going
                Abdulmutallab’s attempt to bring                                           to believe: you or their lying eyes? Any
                down Northwest Flight 253 on                                               explanatory caveats you place on your
                Christmas Day with his “Fruit of                                           comments at a later time will sound fatu-
                the Boom” underwear, we were                                               ous and label you a butt-covering fraud.
treated to a parade of public officials from the                                           Security breaches happen. Own up to any
President of the United States down to function-                                           shortfalls or mistakes.
aries in federal agencies trying to explain away                                              • If you’re not yet sure of all the facts,
the incident as an aberration. Background facts                                            say so. Saying there was no “smoking gun”
began to dribble out of the dead-tree media over                                           only to have the steaming six-shooter sud-
the week following the botched attack showing                                              denly appear on the Jumbotron behind
these pronouncements to be at best, ill-advised.                                           you makes you appear incompetent. If you
For an administration that went immediately to                                             don’t know, simply say so.
the podium asking America not to jump to con-                                                 • If you’ve had your job for more
clusions in the wake of the shocking Fort Hood                                             than month, don’t blame the guy who
murders, erroneous conclusions were being prof-     “Abdulmutallab was                     had the gig before you. Laying the rap
fered while we were still escorting the shaken                                             on your long-gone predecessor does
passengers off the aircraft.                          hardly an ‘isolated                  not instill confidence in your abilities.
   Abdulmutallab was initially painted by the
administration as an “isolated extremist” who
                                                    extremist’... Not only                 Perhaps they dumped the guy before you
                                                                                           because you claimed to be able to do a
had managed to sneak explosives past the stan-
dard screening process, The Washington Post
                                                     was he trained by a                   better job. Now is the time to prove it.
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