December 28th, 2009
03:38 PM ET
7 months ago

Obama: U.S. will 'do more than strengthen our defenses'

President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States would respond aggressively to terrorism such as last week's botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner.
President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States would respond aggressively to terrorism such as last week's botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner.

(CNN) – President Barack Obama warned Monday that the United States would respond aggressively to terrorism such as last week's botched attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner.

"Those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know theUnited States will do more than simply strengthen our defenses," Obama told reporters in a break from his Christmas vacation in Hawaii.

The incident on Christmas Day aboard a Northwest Airlines flight making its final approach to the Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan airport was a reminder to the nation of the dangers posed by terrorists, Obama said in his brief remarks.

A 23-year-old Nigerian allegedly attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear, setting off a fire at his seat on the flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Obama said courageous actions by other passengers and crew members helped avert a disaster, and he outlined steps including reviews of passenger screening procedures and terrorism watch lists for air travel as a response.

"We are doing everything in our power to keep you and your families safe and secure during this busy holiday season," Obama said in a bid to reassure U.S. air travelers shaken by the incident.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. ronvan

    I will say it once again. It is our "rights" that will be our downfall! WE want action and protection but are completely unwilling to allow the technology to cut down on sub human, terrorist, activites! YES, it is time to tell all these countries that they are on their own, that the U.S. is NOT the worlds police force or problem solver and that we WILL protect ourselves! That doesn't mean we can't send unmanned aircraft into ANY country to kill our enemies!!

    December 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Bpin

    Yep. BHO needs to do more apologizing. The US is a horrible country. Our freedoms are ill-gotten gain and we owe the world for our horrible behavior.

    In order to give back to the world, we will continue to help with religous battles in wars to nowhere. We are afraid of AQ, so what we will do is continue to punish people as we help fight religous wars under the pretence of preventing safe havens for AQ. Before the end of his term, BHO will have all countries loving us so we don't really have anything to worry about. Money can buy you love.

    December 28, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. We LOVE Obama in INDIANA!!!

    Aren't the screening policies, Bush era? It's going to take Obama a long time to redo every f ed up policy W has. I bet there's millions. It's also not going to be overnight hat Obama's correction on foreign policy starts to bear fruit. But it will. just think only 1 year ago Cheney would be waterboarding this plane guy in Gitmo basically convincing 100s more extremists to sign up to be martyrs. It will be a while before they go throug hthe current Bush/Cheney created supply. Talk about supply side ...
    Thank goodness these terrorists are bozos. Its funny they are proud they smuggled a new kind of bomb on a plane that wasn't detected. Of course it doesn't work, barely could light a cigarette off that thing.

    December 28, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Sleeping on the Job?

    Our leadership has been sleeping on the job. For years there was silence, no threats were making it to the homefront. That because we took the war to them and forced them to fight on their homefront. But in the past year, this administration has taken everything for granted, Instead of focusing on the enemy, this adminstration and congress chose to focus on their witch hunts against the former administration. This has allowed Al Qeada to regroup and now we are being attacked once again here at home.

    Obama, you can't handle this like some community organizer event. You can't pull these "bad guys" into a court room. You need to start treating them like the enemy and that goes for countries that are giving them safe harbor.

    Wake Up Obama.

    December 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Jack

    I'm so glad that obama got to finish that well earned vacation in hawaii and that under this administration, the latest (but certainly not last) terrorist was given his miranda rights. Is this a great country, or what!

    December 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Dave

    Pathetic!
    Need I say more..? Where is Cheney when we need him!

    December 28, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Jim

    More attacks are coming. The terrorists love our weak President. There is no help coming from Washington. These clowns have already taken away any fighting power of our military and the CIA. The crew in charge of the White House and Congress will call a meeting and come up with a "strong condemnation" of these acts. This is what you get when you vote in people with no real world experience-they are looking for the answers in the back of a text book-that is all they know.

    December 28, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. G-er

    Lets start by keeping Guantanimo open!!! then lets send this Nigerian terrorist there and torture him until he gives us the names of all of the Yemen terrorist who he worked with. We're getting soft and complacent in the war on terror and they will hit us again if we don't get more serious.

    December 28, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. penobscot

    So far, this administration doing things like giving DNA tests and other nonsense pre-occupations to perpetrators and still calling them "suspects" when everyone on the plane saw this putz commit the terrorist act, is doing nothing but coddling no-counts like this thug. When the US decides to put its ballz where its mouf is...then things might change with this crap...until that time, BEAM ME UP, SNOTTY!!!

    December 28, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. seebofubar

    This man has no clue. Remember who he is...a community organizer with absolutly no experience managing anything. Electing this stooge was the single bigest mistake that this country has done in 100 years. I hope for our childrens sake that we can undo all of the mistakes this idiot has made.

    December 28, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Is 4 years up yet?

    This is the Obama Administrations fault. They have done nothing but weaken our borders since day one. Now they see the need to bring imprisoned terrorists into our country. President Obama has chosen to put his liberal agenda ahead of this Nations security and it almost cost us innocent lives.

    December 28, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. silvio

    As long as the US supports Israeli policies in the Middle East we will have Islamic fundamentalists attacking the US. Israel and Islamic terrorist groups have been fighting for decades and despite Israel's aggressive approach and multiple wars Israel still faces a daily threat of terrorism.

    The major change is terrorist groups are attacking the US directly. We can either change our policies in the Middle East or get prepared to endure decades of attacks. This will not get solved through security screenings and invading other countries.

    December 28, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    The FBI Web site has section on the terror watch lists and terror database; I encourage everyone posting here to read it.

    This attack was thwarted; the immediate response has been to take steps so that it won't happen again.

    As I've said before, Bush ignored an August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing memo entitled, "Al Qaeda Determined to Attack the US Using Airplanes;" at least I know that our current president would never let that happen.

    December 28, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. Liberal wingnut

    Every time an issue comes up being debt or something else, this idiot gives another speech that means absolutely nothing.

    December 28, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Stu - Las Vegas

    You know, now that I have thought about it, and I've come to this conclusion:

    Terrorists don't want to kill Americans, they want to kill Republicans!!

    Think about it, Cheney, Lil Bush, Big Bush, Reagan, Rumsfeld, and the like with their "Shoot First" and "ask questions later" mentality. Attacking other countries without provocation, long ended wars, putting our folks in uniform in harms way so Haliburton, Blackwater, and the other "contractors' can make a ton of money! That's capitalism at it's finest !

    All countries have terrorists, "including ours" the only difference is we call ours "Gang Bangers".

    Are we going after ours here at home? Of course not.
    Its easy to police the world telling them how they should live, but not keep our own house clean.

    Greed, dishonesty, elitetism, Fear, are what drive our Republican Party, which has led to the near distruction of the econemy worldwide!

    As I said before, terrorists don't hate americans, just the republicans. You know what, given all that has happened this year with healthcare, jobs, etc I hate the Party of No too!

    December 28, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Liberal wingnut

    Why are all these terrorist attempts happening now that Obama is in office?

    December 28, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. Loyal American

    Get a grip some of you people. Sure terrorists hate us but we also hate each other. Some of these posts are just pure venom. Stand by our President or leave this country.

    December 28, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. dennis

    We have heard this time and time and time again. Let me put it this way the american people are screwed. The govt does not want americans to feel safe. They could care less or they WOULD be doing something about it. I will say if it was on one of their jets that this happened to something would be done. U.S.A. the U does not stand for united. My new U.S.A. is now called the Unmoral States of America.

    December 28, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Let's be clear about something: The 9/11 Commission made several proposals regarding strengthening our defenses against terrorism – and the Bush Administration did very little to implement them.

    December 28, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. James

    President Obama is doing every thing within his “power to keep you and your families safe and secure during this busy holiday season.” What more do you expect or want?

    That is why he is president and you are NOT.

    December 28, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. steve

    Just how effective is this massive terrorist DB that Bush put together if it does not integrate data from the US embassy in Nigeria? UK entry ban? We have real-time communications everywhere in the world. The fact he was a possible threat was even known well in advance. How ridiculous is it for the US embassy to flag his visa for full review but months from the time when they were told he might have been radicalized. This guy did not have to be on the no-fly list to merit a thorough strip search, explosive swab, 3D search with the information they already had when he boarded the plan in Nigeria. Ok its a poor country. Then a second chance in the Netherlands. Third chance as soon as his passport was scanned the US should have refused the flight to Detroit. You can't tell met that Israel lets this stuff happen on flights coming into their country. Heads should roll! Was this timed for the holidays when everyone leaves DC? Terrorists are at work on every holiday including those of their own religion.!

    December 28, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Dave

    It takes Obama 2 or 3 days to respond to a crisis. Does it take his staff that long to pump some courage into this guy to face terrorist's activity. They put that so-called Homeland Security girl out there on Sunday to say everything was fine because nobody got hurt. Then today, she has to do a 180. Don't they just make us feel so safe? Still no statement from Obama regarding Iran. That is probably scaring him to death, also.

    December 28, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Is 4 years up yet? says this is the Obama Administration's fault.

    And 9/11 was the Bush/Cheney Administration's fault.

    Bush & Company ignored the Clinton transition team's information and warnings about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

    Bush & Company ignored the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing memo entitled, "Al Qaeda Determined to Attack the US Using Airplanes."

    December 28, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    Do any of you guys know that there could have been over 200 lives lost on that aircraft? Yet, I see a lot of people on here using this as a political booster; that is not the way we should act as America or as a human race. If we care more about our political gain, than we do the lives of those around us, then you people are beyond hope. In any unfortunate event like this, we should be united as one people; not pointing fingers at eachother on who is to blame. Call me naive for believing that, but that is the right thing, not popular, thing we should do. I am not directing this at anyone; I am directing this everyone who dares to use this as a political gain. Besides, I think everyone should read the entire speech before commenting on the post; it is called smart judgement and comprehension. That is something we should have learned in elementary school.

    December 28, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. slp

    I remember my daddy telling me when I was about 12 or 13 that there were people in this world who hated me simply because I was an American citizen. I hate to tell you liberals but terrorists have hated us for a long time. This hatred didn't just appear during the Bush administration. The United States has fundamentally stood for what is right and the evil of this world can't abide it. This president doesn't understand that. What is it going to take for all of you who think this man is so wonderful to wake up? I guess it will take another 9/11. These people do not understand anything but violence. Jesus himself said that if you live by the sword you will die by the sword. I for one am not counting on my government to keep me safe anymore. They have proven once and for all that they don't care about me or any other American.

    December 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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