December 29th, 2009
04:51 PM ET
3 months ago

Obama: Systemic, human failures let terror suspect on U.S. flight

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that a "mix of human and systemic human failure" allowed a terror suspect to board a U.S. airliner in the botched bombing attempt on Christmas Day.

In a brief statement to reporters during his vacation in Hawaii, Obama said information on the suspect should have been sufficient to alert authorities to prevent him from getting on the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan.

"A systemic failure has occurred and I consider that totally unacceptable," Obama said, adding that the breakdown was "a mix of human and systemic failure."


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Idiot_Pelosi

    Richard Reid the "shoebomber" was tried in Federal Court, had a lawyer and is now doing life. So why is this Nigerian punk any different?

    Karl Rove was on Fox to say that Bush did it differently, when they did it exactly the same – federal criminal prosecution.

    Playing politics with terrorism is what republicans do.

    December 29, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. GOP hypocrisy with our Nation's security.......

    And just think.....these are the best ununionized dummies with low wages and bad benefits money can buy.....according to Republican Jim DeMint...

    December 29, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. joe kiloz

    Stars and ends with your appointment of Janet to take care of US and the border.

    December 29, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Albo58

    This latest terrorist event has NOTHING to do with the Bush adminstration and EVERYTHING to do with the Obama administration! Specifically, I think it's past time Napolitano changed her attention from "right wing" groups to Islamic terrorist groups! After all, these are the groups that are trying to blow up airplanes and commit other heinous crimes against Americans! I'd call for her immediate firing for incompetence, but I know that this President would just replace her with someone just as inept!

    December 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. joe kiloz

    Starts and ends with your appointment of Janet to take care of the US and its citizens and borders.

    December 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. Mike in MN

    I thought Obama said that getting rid of the Bush policies would make us safer.
    Yet we have the Ft. Hood masacare and the failed airliner bombing in Detroit and active and growing terrorist organizations all over the world.
    So when will the change from the Bush policies to the Obama policies start to make us safer? When will the terrorists stop wanting to kill us because Obama is president?

    December 29, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The biggest systemic failure was the one that brought Barack Hussien Obama to the White House. God help us all.

    December 29, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  8. joe

    Blah Blah Blah.

    Still going to be president until 2016.

    Get used to it. No one will forget Repubs Economy, New Orleans, and IRAQ.

    Nor will they forget the Repubs refusal to come up with any policy that helps Americans.
    Same ol Same.

    Nice underwear bomb. It was a firecracker. Wow scary.

    December 29, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. terry,va

    I guess you will find it "totally unacceptable" when an airplane blows up the White House. I'm sure the terrorists would love to do that. I hope it doesn't hit your teleprompter or you won't know what to say after that.

    December 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. valwayne

    NO Kidding. The Obama administration has ended the war on terror, is persecuting our intelligence agents that kept us safe after 9/11, prosecuting Navy Seals because a murdering terrorist says they hit him, spending hundreds of millions to give murdering terrorists Circus trials in NYC and a world stage, billions to bring more murdering terrorists to the heartland of the U.S. so they can have million dollar defense attorney's, and Obama's administration's first reaction to this was "The System Worked"! I think the American people by now should have a pretty good idea what's not working?

    December 29, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Jayson

    Not to mention a lack of readily available non-invasive puff technology to test for explosive residues. The politically correct approach to identifying threats does not work. None of the new measures implemented at the airports will do anything to make air travel any safer and will only increase the discomfort associated with flying.

    December 29, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. I Am The Great And Powerful Wizard of Rush; Who Are You?

    Bush waited SIX days before commenting after Richard Reid, the shoebomber, failed in his attempt to blow up an airliner.
    The Bush administration prosecuted Reid in Federal Court and Reid had a lawyer. Reid is doing life in supermax Federal prison.

    OK, Obama haters, what's different with the Nigerian scumbucket?

    December 29, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. excuseme

    The World Trade Center was on Bush's watch. The mailings of poison powder letters in America was on Bush's watch. The shoe bomber was on Bush's watch. The current airport security measures were implemented on Bush's watch. But somehow this is ALL Obama's fault! Playing politics will not make us safe.

    December 29, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. CNN in the censoring buisness..shameful! He LIVES so ALL man can know peace and love!

    I don't know.....it borders on how far do we go.....I mean I'm sure people realize that underwear can be used to hide things..we know secret police all over the world use that...but when it comes to publicly boarding a plane....what does it come down to..strip searches? I think putting some burely football players on each flight with ready fist would have a better outcome....but that is not very loving either, is it?
    What to do?

    December 29, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. gt

    janet is not qulified to run home land security ,,, her state was like a funnel for illegals and drugs ,, get rid of her now..

    December 29, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. obama the liar

    Obama fears and nightmares-–SEIU-George Soros-Islam-Terrorist and losing in 2012 after less than a year in office....underqualified to be in government-that be he.

    December 29, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. LLM from MD

    Seems like these terrorist cowards keep coming up with tactics we are not ready for....We can not blame the President for this...no way, now how...nor do I blame Bush...They want us dead...plain and simple and by any means necessary. I hate war but I'm all for bombing them now and ending their miserable lives–God bless them!!

    December 29, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Rosa, b'ham al

    The screening policies were developed under the Bush administration and haven't changed, I don't see how people can blame this on Obama. Now if he doesn't change the outdated and useless Bush policies then we can talk,

    December 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. terry,va

    Let's blame this on Bush, Obummie. That seems to have worked with all the idiots in this country for the first year. If you keep crying about your lot in life, you might be able to fool the American idiots another year or two. Of course, when you give hand outs to all the sorry bums they will drink your kool-aid and follow you off a cliff. I.Q tests and proof of paying taxes should be a requirement to vote.

    December 29, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. IndyVoter

    I meant to say..."we are NOW seeing the plans and maneuvers over several years coming to fruition!"

    December 29, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Buck Wheat

    Funny, why did he speak again...it seems like he always has to do a second take! Maybe after listing to Fox and hearing what you should have done? Think about it...how many times has he had to redo?

    December 29, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Clifford in New York

    In 40 years of watching politics I have never seen an administration with so many kneekumpoops! This would be comical if it weren't so scary!!

    December 29, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. Fitz in Texas

    "A systemic failure has occurred and I consider that totally unacceptable"........Well guess what Mr. President so does the rest of America. Never had something like this occur in the seven years following 9-11. This is the most inept administration I've seen in years and there's been some pretty inept administration in the past.

    December 29, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    I would like to remind everyone posting here that the 9/11 Commission (a bi-partisan group) made many recommendations to strengthen our security, specifically in regard to ports of entry (which includes airlines).

    I would like to further remind you that the Bush Administration did not implement most of the suggestions.

    December 29, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. gerryluimes

    It's obvious that Obama is covering up for the Republican party which is just delighted with a common -but unfortunate- human failure.
    Get a grip and forget about our paranoia of fear !.
    Gerry at Edmonton,Can.

    December 29, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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