WASHINGTON--President Obama told the nation on Tuesday that the intelligence system designed to keep terrorists off airplanes is not working--and that's why all the warning signs that should have kept Nigerian terrorist suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab off Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day--were ignored.
*"When our government has information on a known extremist, and that information is not shared and acted upon as it should have been, so that this extremist boards a plane with dangerous explosives that could have cost nearly 300 lives, a systemic failure has occurred," Obama said.
Obama, speaking from Hawaii said a preliminary review of the incident he ordered is due Thursday. He also outlined problems of the security and intelligence systems put in place after the 9-11-2001 attacks where terrorists hijacked three U.S. aircraft.
* "Some of this preliminary information that has surfaced in the last 24 hours raises some serious concerns. It's been widely reported that the father of the suspect in the Christmas incident warned U.S. officials in Africa about his son's extremist views. It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect's name on a no-fly list.
There appears to be other deficiencies as well. Even without this one report, there were bits of information available within the intelligence community that could have and should have been pieced together."
* Post 9-11 "it's becoming clear that the system that has been in place for years now is not sufficiently up to date to take full advantage of the information we collect and the knowledge we have .Had this critical information been shared, it could been compiled with other intelligence, and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged.
The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America.
*"When our government has information on a known extremist, and that information is not shared and acted upon as it should have been, so that this extremist boards a plane with dangerous explosives that could have cost nearly 300 lives, a systemic failure has occurred. And I consider that totally unacceptable."