December 25th, 2009
08:03 PM ET
10 months ago

Source: WH considers Friday incident attempted terrorist attack

(CNN) - A senior Obama administration official says the White House is now considering Friday's incident aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest airlines flight an attempted terrorist attack.

A passenger on the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan caused a brief disturbance at the end of the trip by igniting several firecrackers, according to a Delta Air Lines spokeswoman.

The passenger was immediately subdued, according to spokeswoman Susan Elliott. The incident resulted in some minor injuries, she said.

President Obama, who is spending the holidays in his home state of Hawaii, was briefed on the incident during a secure phone call with aides, and instructed in a subsequent discussion with security advisers "that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel," White House spokesman Bill Burton told CNN. The president made no changes to his schedule, Burton said.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Friday saying that air passengers "may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the traveling public on domestic and international flights."

The plane, an Airbus 330, landed around noon ET. It was carrying 278 passengers.

The Transportation Security Administration had no immediate comment.

Delta is the parent company of Northwest.

–CNN's Kevin Bohn, Elise Labott and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. TCM

    You mean this wasn't a "man-made disaster?" Janet?

    This administration is soooo inexperienced and in over their head.....But, I'm sure that Holder will give him full rights as a citizen, and only the best accommodations...

    December 25, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. John

    you can stay in Hawaii Mr. President..... your leadership and patriotism are awesome... we'll just take care of the terrorist attacks on our own.... no need to meet with anyone on this..... in fact... you should get a nice tropical drink with a few umbrellas in it for good measure...

    December 25, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  3. Jon Krieger

    The whole world knows we've got a president who is weak on the war on terrorism!So expect more attempts like this!How did he get on with firecrackers anyway?This and the fort hood attack wouldn't've happened on Bush's watch.And how stupid of Obama to stay in Hawaii!Show the country you care by getting back to work,after this thing!

    December 25, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    The incident is certainly breaking news for 5-10 minutes but keeping it going while you try to gather real facts of what actually happened live is not news any more its boring its speculation, and hoping you'll find some administrative misstep somewhere to justify another breaking news headline!!
    I got really frustrated with your constant efforts to speculate on the device and how it got on board. Also no one was apparently seriously injured except maybe the " device holder" it would have been more newsworthy to me to identify those people, and the nature of the injuries.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    December 25, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. Fitz in Texas

    "Source: WH considers Friday incident attempted terrorist attack"

    So was the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, but the WH failed to call that one like it was......a terrorist attack on American soil.

    December 25, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  6. Hillary Was Right

    Don't feel safe with Obama answering the phone at 3am, 1pm, 5pm, 10pm, 1am etc.

    December 25, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  7. chris l

    quick, give permission to allow Obama to write someone a strongly worded letter.

    December 25, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  8. Jon Krieger

    Well let's see:1)The "flyover" incident earlier this year.2)The Fort Hood attack that killed over 30 people.3)The two people that crashed the white house dinner party.And now this?Gee,I feel ever so much safer with Obozo in the white house!

    December 25, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  9. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Obama's response: Apologize more.

    December 25, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  10. Clifford in New York

    Hey what happened to " Texas Teacher" hiding your face nowadays 'cause Mr.Obama 'aint what you thought he was??

    December 25, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. steveo

    amazing how nobody can get their stories straight. it seems probable it was some sort of incendiary device but we have the b-team reporting including some ridiculous speculation by your "security" reporter.
    the guy obviously wasnt on a no-fly list but was on a watch list per BBC and others and he wasnt screened second time in netherlands so it appears again, they're again exploiting another shortcoming in procedures.
    face it, these guys arent geniuses, they're very simple planners who occasionally have "good" ideas and tend to execute pretty well. and why this guy didnt try to light it off when they were at altitude mid-flight is a mystery to me.
    lets me think, either he screwed up on timing or had trouble getting it prepared til it was too late. could be a chemical reaction that needed to occur before it was viable took longer than anticipated at reduced cabin pressures you have at altitude. thats possibly why the security folks werent able to catch him on the first screen. either way, they're exploiting a procedural error which also lets me think they're doing lots of flying to observe procedure for surveillance only.

    December 26, 2009 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. Sonia, Colorado

    Well, we got 8 years without any terrorist attacks. Now that this president is going all over the world to apologize, for they we are, putting this country down, trashing our country, it says to the terrorists, that, they are free to come and blow us up. This administration is too weak on defense and security, i would not be surprise if something like this happens again. I can only hope that in 2012 we can get rid of these people in the White House. I hope my comment be posted.

    December 26, 2009 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  13. A. Smith, Oregon

    What is next for American airport travelers to endure because of Muslims that lash out with extreme violence towards others?

    The aftermath of the Muslim shoe bomber, travelers need to remove their socks and shoes for inspection.

    The aftermath of the Muslim butt-bomber, travelers need to remove the rest of their clothing?

    Cattle crowding everyone past Xray machines or Fluro-Scopes is not medically ethical and completely unacceptable for children and young women who might suffer future complications from the ionized radiation.

    Ultra Sound? That is limited, slow and not really lending to a thousand travelers a day intake capacity.

    Full body cavity searches? Forcing everyone to disrobe and be probed is likely going to be unacceptable to many non-Muslim Americans.

    How does the transportation system adequately deal with any future Muslim butt-bomber?

    December 26, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  14. steve

    I thought Obama and the Marxist liberals were loved around the world yea they are love about as much as this communist bill and biased cnn!

    December 26, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  15. Donkey Party

    Thankyou Mr. President for keeping the country safe during your first year in office. It is a milestone the previous administration missed and failed at miserably.

    December 26, 2009 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  16. T'SAH from Virginia

    We can tighten up the security to the ULTIMATE here but we do not control other countries.... It is going to happen in a matter of time!!

    December 26, 2009 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  17. jules sand-perkins

    Please, give us a speedy death penalty for the terrorist apprehended at the scene of his attact on our country.

    Somehow, I don't think he'll much more than a swine-flu shot, humane psychological rehabilitation, and suspended public service with this overly liberal government we foolishly elected.

    Please don't comment "educationally+ that it's a judicial matter: Obama is always telling the judicial branch what to do.

    December 26, 2009 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
1 2