December 31st, 2009
11:43 AM ET
3 months ago

Missed signals cleared the way for suspect to board plane

What missed signals cleared the way for Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to board his flight on Christmas?
What missed signals cleared the way for Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to board his flight on Christmas?

Washington (CNN) - To understand how the suspect in the botched terror attack was able to board a plane, you have to understand how the counterterrorism system that President Obama says failed is supposed to work.

The president says the clues were there, and that a fuller, clearer picture of 23-year-old Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab would have emerged if all the bits and pieces had been shared and put together.

"The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America," Obama said.

The president has ordered a top-to-bottom investigation of the failed terrorist attack on Christmas Day. The preliminary report is expected Thursday.

One of the key questions is why wasn't the suspect's visa revoked.

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Filed under: Terrorism
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Nea

    I Refuse to live in Fear: People need to understand that there will always be a terror threat not only in the U.S. but any country and some are making things worst by trying to poke fear in people to make their party look good but this is not about an particular party this is about people lives but i refuse to live in fear because GOD have not given me the spirit of fear but Love, Power and a Sound mind,So wake up people and realize we are terrorizing ourselves with hatred in our hearts.We need to come together for the good of the Country unless you are an terroist yourself.

    December 31, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    "The information the father provided the embassy with was just one of hundreds of reports, and often vague tips, coming in each day."

    This is why the system will never be foolproof. It's easy to ask why this guy was allowed to fly after the fact. But how many thousands of possibly credible tips are received every year, where nothing ends up happening. There are already 550,000 names on the least severe list. We need to develop much better intelligence capabilities in these trouble spots. We also need to use full body scanning equipment, and any other type of means necessary to try to keep terrorists off of planes. The people who are saying that these machines are an invasion of privacy are either clueless, naive, or are just trying to get a little publicity.

    December 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. J.C. - Independent 4 Public Option

    I usually disagree with Newt Gingrich except for this one. We do need to stop being politically correct and make security systems more effective. IF terrorists were to come from my ethnic background, I personally will not be offended by being singled out for more questions at the airport. This will make those moderate Muslims to voice their public objections to extremists, because silence is also interpreted as silent approval. This Nigerian terrorist's father is a great example. Thanks to Mr. Alhaji Umaru Mutallab! Please ask him if he is against racial profiling.

    Of course, terrorists can change their names. Then the thread between the new name and old names must be maintained in all digital records.
    Had the terror act succeeded, this New Year would have been very different for all the passengers and their families on that flight.

    December 31, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. unemployed by Obama

    wasnt missed signals, tell the truth, it was a major screw up by people who are responsible with protecting us. seems the people on the plane were more prepared than our own homeland security group.

    December 31, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. Dennis

    As a retired Federal employee, I hate to say it but most of theTSA employees I see at airports do not appear to be the creme of the crop. I would feel more secure if the vast majority of TSA personnel were retired miliary or retired police officers, i.e., people who understand about "protecting and serving".

    December 31, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    What really amazes me is that we can't find people missing right here in the U.S. Have you seen the missing persons list, so how can we find bin Laden, it just doesn't make sense.

    December 31, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Mike

    How about the 'missed signal' that we actually are at war with terrorists and not just subject to ramdom 'man caused disasters'? This Administration should stop worrting about terrorist rights and being PC and get busy killing them. It's them or us, and this Administaration would rather have more Americans die than risk offending the so called moderate Muslims (who don't bother to condemn the terrorists).

    December 31, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. Fan of Common Sense

    Because the democrats have spent the last seven years trashing U.S. intelligence and their methods, now everyone in our intelligence-gathering agencies are scared to say anything out of fear for their careers. WAY TO GO, DEMOCRATS!!

    December 31, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. joe smith

    its' go back to the drawing board; and maybe someone will include the INS in their brain? storming..of all agencies, this one needs a complete overhall, top to bottom, new policies put in place, and followed..we need to cut back on our open door policy.. and make visiting, college enrollment quotas, length of stay, on and on, surely there is a model out there in the world we can us as a template..oh, now that ATT&T has given tiger the heave ho..( no pun intended ), perhaps the rest of us using ATT&T will get a sizable credit..

    December 31, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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