Thomas Rid of Kings of War has the best analysis of the event. Please keep his words in mind as the media prepares to go into panic mode over the next few days.
The problem with all this is that the terrorists, whoever they turn out to be, have an overarching interest in provoking attention and creating fear. True, domestic terrorism constitutes a serious threat. No, not a strategic or existential one. So therefore a failed, amateurish plot should not be treated like a strategic threat. It should not get more attention than it deserves. If it does, the subtext will be clearly understood by extremists everywhere: America is frightened.Indeed. Terrorism seeks to provoke and frighten; hence the word "terrorism". Fortunately, as of late, al Qaeda's plots are comically amateurish: "butt bombs", underwear bombs, and now this last failed attempt. This suggests an organization which can not coordinate and plan at the level it could ten years ago.
Let's treat al Qaeda accordingly, and not give them the propaganda victory they seek.