Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama admits intelligence system failed and that's why terrorist was allowed to board Flight 253

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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.

Obama said:

* "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."

2 Comments

Yes after 4 days. Just like everything else he is slow to react.

i think with people just dressing up are able to walking right into the white house. which i thought would be totally secured. we really cant expect much security else where.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 29, 2009 4:07 PM.

Standby: Obama to make another statement soon about Flight 253 incident was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama says intelligence system ignored "warning signs" on Flight 253 terrorist suspect. Transcript is the next entry in this blog.

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