Thursday, January 7, 2010

He Didn't Buy A One Way Ticket

TPM has compiled a report on what has been publicly reported about the attempted terrorist bombing on the Northwest flight Christmas day. There is at least one important correction to what has been reported and repeated erroneously all over the place since this attempted attack took place.

•The AP quoted a Nigerian official, Civil Aviation Authority chief Harold Demuren, saying that Abdulmutallab bought a round-trip ticket with cash at the KLM office in Accra, Ghana on Dec. 16. The $2,831 ticket was from Lagos, Nigeria, to Detroit via Amsterdam, he said. The return date was said to be Jan. 8, the Guardian quotes the same Nigerian agency as saying. A CBS report refers to a "scheduled two-week trip," which would be in keeping with the Jan. 8 return date. And a Dutch government report described by the International Herald Tribune (via Nexis) said that Abdulmutallab "had a round-trip ticket purchased in Ghana."

•However, multiple news outlets and commentators have asserted Abdulmutallab had a one-way ticket. That includes Time, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the Journal news pages, and Michael Gerson in the Washington Post. None of those outlets cite a source for the one-way ticket claim. The New York Times actually ran a Dec. 30 correction saying that an earlier piece "referred incorrectly to the plane ticket used by the suspect. It was a round-trip ticket, not a one-way ticket."

Now people on both sides of the political spectrum have used the notion that Abdulmutallab bought a one way ticket as a sign that the sytem didn't work because that should have been a red flag. And even further to assert that because Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, used a one way ticket, that its an even worse screw up for them to have not noticed Abdulmutallab because the situations seemed so similar.

But the truth is he bought a round trip ticket so that is one thing that was different from Reid. And when you take away the one way ticket meme then there isn't a whole lot that would make you think this was a mirror image of Reid.

There are other things that TPM dug up worth reading about as well. And as I was typing this post the official White House report was declassified. So feel free to click the links and get the truth about this incident. Obviously relying on our mainstream media hasn't worked out so well thus far.

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