December 31st, 2009
11:43 AM ET
4 years 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.

Full story

Filed under: Terrorism
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. SC mom

    "Missed signals" is putting it mildly. It was a total meltdown, no one
    doing their job!

    December 31, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Obama ... worst President ever!

    How can you have "missed signals"? And here Obonzo sits in Hawaii for his Christmas Vacation. What a joke he is. A disgusting piece of cow dung. And this moron became President.

    December 31, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. Bren

    Most citizens figured this out on day one........

    It takes Obama almost a week to figure it out.

    The Democrats are going to get clobbered in the 2010 elections.

    The Republicans just need to campaign on unemployment/economy and national security.

    December 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Maybe it was one of Cheneys loyalists who was responsible for this failure since Cheney has so much to gain from another attack and cant seem to be able to wait for the day he can say" I told you so".

    December 31, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. democratsruinwhattheytouch

    Of course it is a failed system, the idiot that SEIU/ACORN and George Soros stole the election for can't even admit there is such a thing as terrorism, lest he give up the phony Nobel Peace Prize he got for doing nothing. Given the increasing death toll from his ignorance, he will probably be award one every year by the socialist eurotrash he so ably represents.

    December 31, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. gt

    fire them ,, you have to get this right,,, no room for error,,,

    December 31, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Gale

    Oh, no. We can't do that, it might make the ACLU unhappy. I wish a whole plane full of ACLU lawyers got on board a plane and no one was checked for bomb making devices, or were x-rayed, or racially profiled, because it might infringe on some of their rights, and let's see how comfortable their flight would be! And remember, No Praying as you go down!

    December 31, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. Enuff of the Guff

    Oh come on! It is a little disengenuous of the President to complain about security when one of the reasons that the system did not work is because we are not allowed to profile or base the danger assumptions on very real characteristics of who these terrorists are, where they come from, and what faith they practice... ALL at the behest of the President.

    Finally does anyone doubt that half of the TSA screeners while not at fault in this incident should really be asking "would you like fries with that?" at McDonalds as opposed to checking for dangerous items in our luggage. TSA should not be a Medicaid to work program.

    December 31, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Richard B

    The Homeland Security boss states that the system worked, the State Department does not revoke the visa of a suspected terrorist after being warned by the suspect's father and our President considers the police "stupid". This sure does make you feel safe – doesn't it? You really cannot blame this on the past administration since the current President has been on the job for nearly a year That gave him plenty of time to select a qualified person to head up the Homeland Security Department. Instead he chose an ineffective political hack. The American people deserve better – much better.

    December 31, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. Silence Dogoode

    Well,Duh Mr. President.... the man's own FATHER tried to warn people... maybe instead of being Mr. should start FIRING people who are in charge of revoking visas.....start with the top and weed your way down....

    December 31, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. ej in Tacoma

    Why does CNN have to contribute to the Republican media assault on our Presiden we have Fox News for that. Homeland security was set up by the Bush/Cheney administration and they had 8 years to protect us which they didn't. They only created a country of fearful Islamaphobic people who do not trust our government anymore.
    E.J. in Tacoma

    December 31, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Bill

    Unless this report that Obama has ordered states that "An environment has been created by the Obama administration that we are not in a War on Terror" it is a worthless report!

    Obama is looking for someone to blame, likely Bush, and to make a TV appearance. As a conservative, I like to see him on TV so much! If you are viewing his whole address, a normal person could see the confusion, niativity and the lies. Unfortunatly, most people that listen to and read CNN and Network news, get an edited version or editorial remarks that try to frame what he is saying as credible.

    For those of you that discredit Rove's remarks; Rove is dead on. What Lib's don't understand is that Rove knows he won't take the advice because it came from him... cracks me up. Let's see if Nobama takes the bait like he does every time Cheney slams him. Nobama just jumps on TV and runs his mouth.... I hope Cheney keeps it up and Obama keeps taking the bait

    December 31, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. MikeH

    First action to take is purge all the Bush appointees from the Department of Homland Security (DHS) and replace them with competent qualified Americans who love their country.

    These Bush/Cheney/Rove lackeys appointed at the last minute are likely political sabotuers, who will endanger American lives to further the Right-Wing Republican agenda, they need to be removed for America to be made more safe.

    December 31, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. unemployed by Obama

    And the guy at the top is responsible and that is Obama. Obama needs to man up and stand up for the mistake, quit blaming and take responsibility. The Buck Stops with Obama not the airpalne passengers.

    December 31, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Hammerer

    The answer to all of these qusetions is one simple word -- incompetence -- from top to bottom.

    December 31, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. shmeckell

    I would not count on the CIA for providing information. You (Obama) made a wise decision putting the FBI ahead of the CIA for your time in office. When Pelosi decided to make public classified information for her own political gain and you did not defend the CIA or bring charges against Pelosi, and are pursuing the release of more classified information, the CIA lost all confidence in you and now they are very skeptical about giving you or your administration classified information. The CIA does not have term limits, nor do they care about your (or any president's) political career; they are geared toward their country and will simply wait until you are out of office before resuming the role in which they are intended.

    December 31, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Mike1952

    This is a huge problem that requires strong leadership to address successfully. It's too bad we have, at this moment in time, one of the two weakest leaders (Jimmy Carter anyone?) in our history. I hope it gets fixed but fear there isn't the will in the liberals to do what it will likely take.

    December 31, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Ted

    Consider this:

    # of Terrorist attacks from Muslim extremists on US:

    – Clinton 3 in 8 years (1993 World Trade Center bombing, 1998 Kenya US Embassy bombing, 2000 USS Cole)
    – Bush 1 + 1 close one in 8 years (9/11 + shoe bomber)
    – Obama 1 + 1 close one in less than one year (Fort Hood + undies bomber)

    Bush kept us safe for 7 years. Not feeling too good about Obama....

    December 31, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. all the news that's fit to omit

    The system uh, uh, uh, uh, uh worked said BOTH Jan and Gibby, my bad, they were taken out of context..................

    Can one of you sheep answer why the visa wasn't pulled as SOON AS HIS DADDY BEGGED THE US EMBASSY AND THE CIA to get his son as he wanted to kill US?

    This has nothing to do with Bush, your heroes watch, your heroes crew and uh, uh, uh he can't vote present anymore.

    Somebody will get thrown under the bus, and Obambi will get his usual pass from the still swooning and fawning media.

    Jowhornalism is dead.

    December 31, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. eliot from chicago

    Its a little odd, the Federal Government has made banks and other financial instituions review all new accounts, and any significant transaction against a few lists for OFAC, Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act compliance via computers, personal training and examinations; but we can't get the government departments to agree on a single list for travel. Or follow the 9/11 commision recomendations after several years.


    December 31, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. ib

    This should tell a lot about Homeland Security; why why were these steps missed??? We need a new person heading this dept. and we need them now before more signals are missed and we are not lucky next time.

    December 31, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. tlaw

    That's an easy one: his visa wasn't revoked because we have elected a bunch of imbeciles to 'lead' the nation. They don't realize how serious the threat to our nation is and think that by talking and acting 'politically correct' we and the terrorists can just 'hold hands and all get along, now'!
    Boy, are we in deep poop with this gang of pea-brains. If this is the best we can do, we might as well just close up shop and wave the surrender flag.

    December 31, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. jp,michigan

    It wasn't just missed signals. If this administration would FOCUS more on the real things that matter ( safety, jobs , economy) then on changing systems the American people are satisfied with ( health-care) they would not be missing signals, terrorist would not be able to hurt American citizens. This act on Christmas Day was diverted by passengers on the plane, not by any action of the Obama administration! Then of course take days to try and make it sound like they did something ( Janet N.).

    December 31, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. They call me "tater salad"

    Thanks George Bush and Dick Cheney for releasing this wacko. It looks as though your plan to pull off ANOTHER terrorist attack on our country (like you did on 9/11) almost worked. I guess its back to the ole drawing board to come up with another way of trying to make that "black guy" in the White House look bad!..........I think the term, mental midgets or perhaps rank amatures suits you two weasels quite nicely..............If the shoe fits?????

    December 31, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. A. Smith, Oregon

    Missed Signals? Huh?

    The UK had the Nigerian Muslim butt-bomber on their no-fly list and was banned from entering the UK already.

    Someone or some country took the Nigerian bomber's passport away from him BEFORE he got to the Amsterdam Airport.

    The ONLY way the Nigerian Muslim butt-bomber was even able to board his International Flight to America via Amsterdam was by a US Diplomat guiding him around and past all of the security checks as shown on Amsterdam's closed circuit airport security cameras and onto his flight, without a passport!

    The Missed Signal you say? Yeah the US Diplomat was spotted and seen by two creditable eyewitness's and his sneaking the Nigerian Muslim butt-bomber past Amsterdam's security checks was recorded on their closed circuit airport security cameras. oops!

    December 31, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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