Washington (CNN) – When President Obama spoke out on the terrorism scare in Detroit, Michigan, he entered a debate that had already begun over his administration's new approach to combating terrorism.
"As a nation we will do everything in our power to protect our country," Obama said while vacationing in Hawaii. "We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland."
Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is being held for allegedly trying to blow up a flight carrying 300 passengers on Christmas Day. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility Monday for the attack, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. strikes on Yemeni soil.
On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano initially gave something of a thumbs up to the government's handling of the Detroit terror scare.
"One thing I want to point out is that the system worked. Everybody played an important role here. The passengers and crew of the flight took appropriate action," Napolitano said on CNN's State of the Union.
Within minutes, Republicans went on the attack.
"Earlier today Secretary Napolitano said the system worked. in fact the system did not work," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said on CBS' "Face the Nation."