Today's the day a steaming mad Barack Obama has demanded the results of a preliminary investigation into the scandalous ineptitude in combating the latest attempt at terrorism.
No question, this was a humiliating event for the Department of Homeland Security, its head, Janet Napolitano, and the entire Obama administration.
No wonder the president's angry.
We'd have felt better about it if he'd shown a lot more anger sooner than he did.
It was one of two parallels to the Bush administration's handling of events following Sept. 11, 2001.
Back then, the nation hungered for reassurance from the top. But Bush was being flown around in dead silence -- so far as the public was concerned -- aboard probably the most sophisticated aerial communication system in the world -- Air Force One.
The excuse: His Secret Service handlers thought it best.
Obama addressed his crisis sooner, but only in mild tones.
His excuse: He didn't want to give the bomber's exploit too much public attention.
Yeah, that sure worked out well.
The other parallel cuts even deeper.
Much was made in Democratic campaigns over the fact that the Bush administration, especially former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, had virtually ignored an Aug. 6, 2001, intelligence document titled: "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S." That was less than six weeks before bin Laden did precisely that.
Rice subsequently (that is, in hindsight) dismissed the presidential briefing document as "information based on old reporting."
Some of the material was only three months old, which is not that far back in espionage terms.
Now we learn that the Homeland Security Department and the intelligence agencies had plenty of tip-offs about the accused bomber in the recent case.
The accused's own father warned U.S. officials that he was afraid his son had been converted to hate the country that he formerly admired.
The man in custody, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was included on the massive list of people the government wanted to keep an eye on, but that list has a half-million names on it. There are narrower lists but nowhere along the way did any of the nation's bureaucrats who are trained and paid to look for such evidence pick up on it.
But all of the above is merely a political view of these attacks and attempted attack.
Getting down to what is really important, what must be done now to improve security?
(And where are all those cable TV experts, some who reassured us for years with knowing chuckles, saying, "The next attack won't involve airplanes; our anti-terrorism system is too good for that to work anymore"?)
We're told that out of this experience we have learned that Yemen may be a place where terrorism training takes place and is a haven for terrorists.
We didn't learn that in October 2000 when a suicide attack was launched against the destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden? Seventeen American sailors were killed in that attack -- in the final months of the Clinton administration. Odd we didn't learn then.
We hope Obama is angry enough over this failure to put aside politics and the risk of hurt feelings and force the sprawling Homeland Security apparatus to do its job better.
Maybe a place to start is by following the old adage that "when everyone's in charge, no one is in charge."
This is especially important in handling national security.
Putting almost all the intelligence-gathering agencies under Homeland Security was intended to circumvent this problem. That's what President Bush said when he announced its creation.
It worked to a large degree but not large enough, it appears.
If bureaucratic pettiness still gets in the way of solid information being passed along and analyzed correctly, then reform is needed.
This is a change we must insist upon.