January 5th, 2010
04:54 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama calls Christmas Day attack an intelligence failure


Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama said Tuesday that U.S. intelligence has had considerable success, but that the botched Christmas Day attack shows "the system has failed" in a major way.

U.S. intelligence had uncovered numerous "red flags" prior to the attack, Obama said, but failed to connect the dots.

The government's inability to stop the attack does not represent a failure to collect intelligence, the president argued. Rather, it represents a failure to integrate different intelligence strands.

The fact that intelligence was not fully analyzed, Obama said, is unacceptable. The president called for reforms to prevent such an incident from recurring to implemented immediately.

Obama reiterated, however, his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Obama ... worst President ever!

    I call it "evidence of a week President!"

    January 5, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. Steve in Denver

    What's this? A President that actually investigates failures on his watch? I suppose he might do something to actually make us safer, rather than change the alert color and torture someone or attack Canada.

    I'm so glad we went with the smart one this time.

    January 5, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Annie

    It is good to hear our President speak the truth and nothing but the truth......but you Repblicans will see it different no matter what......Bush Cheney started this mess and the sooner you admit it and move on maybe you will see how much America is better off with Obama in charge.......Republicans are playing this up to the hilt........to try to make Obama look like he has FAILED........The terrorist will continue to try to do us harm overseas and at home no matter who the President is.......Obama isn't playing into the terrorist hands like Bush and Cheney........Repblicans continue the BLAME GAME

    January 5, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. JSL

    It must remind Cheney those days of poise, intelligence, acountabilty, leadership...that was before him.

    January 5, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Tracy

    The buck stops with the President. It's all on you, Mr. Obama.

    January 5, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. henriettap

    From what I understand is that the Christmas Day suppose to be bomber was trained by one the detainees that was released under Cheney and Bush.If we are going to put the blame on someone not being able to keep our country safe lets start at the beginning of the situation and that is with the previous administration.How many more are they training to attack us?Obama had a very bad position to go into and he has done as good or bett3er than what some give him credit for.

    January 5, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. Obama ... worst President ever!

    Obama the disgrace of America will always fail. He needs to run while he can.

    January 5, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    No color coding, no taping of windows/doors and no hiding in a bunker like Cheney did after 9/11.

    January 5, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    It is always everyone else's fault except Obama. When will he actually take responsibility for something?

    9/11 happened on Bush's watch – it was his fault for enraging the world and going where the terrorists were not.

    Things are starting to happen on Obama's watch and it is Obama's fault for ignoring the warnings he had about this, shortly before it happened.

    January 5, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Charlie in Maine

    Maybe just maybe by calling a failure a failure our President will help break the cycle of deny deny deny that the previous administration employed.

    January 5, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Doug

    Gitmo Closing is not the solution to this problem. All politics, all the time from this President. It is getting old to keep going back to day one and makeout that this is the reason they to destroy our way of life.
    President Obama wake up and try to get better people on this.

    January 5, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "This is just one more instance of a degree of sliminess I've never before seen in American politics. Bribes, closed-door deals, strong-arm tactics...The Dems obviously have no interest in the opinion of the American people and are determined to impose on us circumstances we do not want."

    Really? So you're what, 8 months old such that you missed out on the last 8 years and the GOP controlling both the WH and Congress and holding votes in the wee hours of night, excluding Dems, locking them out of deliberations, etc.? Actually, 8 months old seems to be about right with you GOP people...whining, crying, short-sighted, brats who need a diaper change and toss a foot-stomping tantrum when you don't get your way.

    January 5, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. obama the liar

    just think...in 3 more years this clown will be back in corrupt Chicago politics and America will be safer.

    January 5, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. Buddy Gilmour

    John Brennan is a major liability for the American public and for President Obama. He can't do his job and should be replaced by someone capable asap, preferably from the FBI, the only agency actually doing its job.

    January 5, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. JR

    Good job Mr. President.

    January 5, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "The buck stops with the President. It's all on you, Mr. Obama"

    YOu might want to point the finger at the President whose policies and standards the FBI, CIA and teh rest of the intelligence community has been following for the past 9 months...yeah, Bush. Obama hasn't even attempted to fix some of ihs mess in that regard because he's too busy trying to overcome the obstructionism over health care, rix the economy the GOP ruined, fight the GOP's imperialistic Iraqi war, etc. The REAL danger to this country is that NOTHING will get done at all...and we'll be living with the status quo for the next 4 years...all because some sore loser ideologue morons can't stand that they lost the WH and control of Congress and think the best way to get back into power is to cater to corporate interests and fight tooth and nail to make sure nothing gets done.

    January 5, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  17. Obama Victim

    guess the "hope and change" thing just isn't workin' out

    January 5, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. matt

    it seems there are many of the same problems going on as there had been before. It is not America that has failed it is our overzealous values that force us to keep a blind eye...we are not past discrimination or over and above what is in our human nature to be... We just superficially pretend because we know that the same people we act so with will not be around for our every moment and especially not for our defaults...but what good does superficial equality do....if a group of people have to go out of their way to make things equall for the less fortunate then after a while they might begin to grow angry with that group...likewise the beneficiaries begin to grow accustomed to this treatment and expect it....so what we have is a ticking time bomb....when will it explode? how much further will we drift into decadence?.....

    January 5, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Dave

    The failure is a result of an atmosphere in which the intel services conduct their war. If there is an impression or an approach that says that there is no war but just war on the intel services if they do not follow the legal system to the last iota, they will never do proper work (it is a complicated task, if you do not know).

    To cover this basic fact, campaign like speeches by the president can be heard across the land, but they will not obfuscate the basic reasons for this fundamental failure, the buck stops at the top!!!! This is the American tradition, administration failure is the failure of the guy at the top!!!!!
    Let get America on track when it comes to fighting extremists terrorists!!!

    January 5, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. D.

    Saying "the system failed" is like saying "no one person failed and in this administration we do not take personal responsibilities"
    This is ballony! Time for action and time for realization what the task of the president actually is!

    January 5, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Joseph Buttacavli

    Impeach this part time president, what a moron.

    January 5, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  22. cobra Montana

    The only ones that think dumbo is taking care of the problem are those with an IQ of less than 70. What a disaster he is!

    January 5, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. LacrosseMom

    So ...... IF the "buck stops with the president" then do the far-right-folks blame, George W. Bush for the September 11th attack?

    See....... here's the thing, the terrorist boarded the aircraft headed towards Detroit in Amsterdam, so how would the breach in security be America's or President Obama's fault.

    Look........ if President Obama has been president for 2-3 years, fine blame him for not getting the security beefed up.

    However, Georg W. Bush was president for EIGHT years and he promised after 9/11 that our airport security would be the best in the world. Obviously not.

    Do people realize that when you come in on an international flight you DO NOT go through security again?

    Do people realize that the terrorist had a valid U.S. visa?

    January 5, 2010 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  24. mavcal

    Hmm, Obama didn't seem this "bothered" when he was in Hawaii eating shaved ice, playing golf & tennis and going to the movies after almost hundreds of people lost their lives. This the problem with Obama – you don't know if his so-called "anger" is for the "systemic failures" or it's because it makes him look bad. He seems pissed off because it makes his administration look incompetent, not because there are terrorists crawling all over the place and the situation is out-of-control.

    January 5, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. Gary

    Our President is a class act and we're LUCKY. Believe what you want, but we're safer now hands down. G

    January 5, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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