Obama concerned about intelligence failure

ABC News:

A day after President Obama bluntly acknowledged security failures in the case of the Christmas day terror plot on Northwest Flight 253, ABC News has confirmed that the U.S. government had intelligence that "a Nigerian" was in Yemen being prepared for a terrorist assault but it is unclear why the information wasn't acted on.

A CIA official met with the father of Umar Farouk Abdumutallab, the suspect being held in the plot, after he reported the increasing radicalization of his son to the U.S. embassy, information that was sent out by the State Department to intelligence agencies. The CIA shared the information with the counterterrorism community, but it is unclear why more urgency was not assigned to the case.

The 23-year-old terror suspect was able to smuggle explosives past two screening check points on two commercial airlines, one of which was a plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit.


"A systemic failure has occurred, and I consider that totally unacceptable," the president said in Hawaii. "There were bits of information available within the intelligence community that could have and should have been pieced together."


The president has ordered two reviews, one to assess terror-watch list procedures and another to determine how the suspect was able to get explosives onto Flight 253. The president said the preliminary information from the reviews he has ordered "raises some serious concerns," and he said intelligence agencies need to act quickly to fix those flaws.

"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," Obama said from Hawaii, where he is vacationing with his family.

The case of the young terror suspect has sparked intelligence agencies worldwide to step up their efforts. In the United Kingdom, investigators searched Abdulmutallab's apartment and are looking into the school he attended from 2005 to 2008. In Dubai, where the Nigerian national lived briefly, authorities say they are interviewing his former classmates


There was a failure to connect the dots, but I think the Yemen connection is the key. It has now become a major hub for al Qaeda attacks and we need to reevaluate anyone who has had connection with Yemen in the last year for whom we have reason to beleive they have radical Islamist beliefs. That would have included Maj. Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, as well as the underwear bomber.


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