January 7th, 2010
05:04 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama lays out preliminary Christmas terror plot review


Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Thursday that the immediate reviews he ordered after the botched Christmas terrorist attack have been completed.

Obama said America's first line of defense is "timely, accurate" intelligence that is properly integrated. "That's not what happened" before the attack, he said.

Read: A summary of the White House report

Obama cited three problems that contributed to the government's failure to prevent the attack.

First, the intelligence community didn't aggressively follow up on particular warnings.

Second, there was a larger failure to "connect the dots" within the intelligence community.

Third, there were shortcomings in the government's "watch list" system that prevented the alleged bomber from getting on the no-fly list.

There was "a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had," Obama said.

The president said he had ordered four reforms.

Read: Obama's letter to the intelligence community


First, he ordered the intelligence community to assign responsiblity to individuals to pursue leads on specific high-priority threats.

Second, intelligence reports will be distributed more widely and quickly.

Third, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair will overhaul existing intelligence analytical efforts.

Fourth, the government will strengthen the criteria used to add people to no-fly list.

Obama also said he was directing the Homeland Security Department to improve international partnerships to boost screening at airports around the world. The Department of Energy will work to develop better screening technology, he said.

Obama said he was establishing accountability reviews for agencies. His national security adviser John Brennan will report to him every 30 days on the reviews, he said.

There is "no silver bullet" to securing all flights coming into America every day, Obama warned. "Ultimately the buck stops with me."

Updated: 5:04 p.m.

Full story


Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Terrorism
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. D.

    Outline the plot to raise tax via health care tag, too! Please!

    January 7, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Rob

    But like everything else he says, how does one separate the truth from the corrput cronyism?

    January 7, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Sea.gem

    Obama is way behind events...his own policies go after Americans not terorists...wait, he stopped the "war on terror"...idiot...too bad he is more concerned about Socialism than the people who live here...theorists do NOT belong in the White House!

    January 7, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. IVOTE

    Powerful words from the President of the United States of America.

    January 7, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. getreal

    Before you nutjobs call for the president to resign, produce the clip of W accepting responsibility for 9/11, the shoe bomber, the Katrina recovery disaster, etc...

    I appreciate a leader who will accept responsibility and detail how changes will be made.

    January 7, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Impromptu

    No consequences. What a great job for his employees. Authority without responsibility. Nice guys finish last. Maybe he will hold an inquiry. No-one is to blame.Everyone is.

    January 7, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. Reggie

    At least, President Bush had a handle on his anti-terrorism departments. Obama is messing everything up. WHY DID WE ELECT HIM????

    January 7, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. big papa

    President Obama should scrutinize the political affiliations of all mid-level and higher echelon Defense, State, Intelligence and Homeland Security personnel...

    ...ANY and ALL Republicans, southern confederate racist right wing scumbags...

    ...should be summarily dismissed without pay and benefits from future service in our gov't agencies...

    ...there are TRAITORS in this house!!!

    ...and they're right wing Bush-Cheneyites!!!

    January 7, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    anyone feel safe??

    January 7, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  10. Jeff Cruze

    To be one of the Greatest Countries in the world, our government hasen't got the first clue on how to protect us. Our government goes around pushing their beliefs and sticking their nose in everyones business, no wonder everyone in the world hates America. I wish someone would give me about 10k so I could leave this country before our government gets me killed. See if you can help find someone to help me out of here.

    January 7, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    As a side note to this story: Dick Cheney and everyone else who criticizes President Obama's commitment to our nation's security should watch the interview with Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Mike Mullen on last night's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

    Admiral Mullen said that he completely agrees with President Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan – and that he greatly appreciated the President's willingness to have a deep and wide discussion and analysis of the situation before making this very important decision. The length of time it took to reach the decision was appropriate.

    Mullen also said that he believes the President is doing everything he can to protect our country and is very supportive of our military personnel.

    'Nuff said.

    January 7, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Obama Mama

    Applause applause

    January 7, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Sylvia

    I don't care much for Obama, but even I can't blame him for this one...

    January 7, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. LYNETTE IN CA

    I'm sure we'll be hearing from Dick and Liz in a few minutes! They always come crawling out of the wood work.

    January 7, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Danny J

    I really appreciate his honesty and candor. It's a bit refreshing. But the fact is that in a post-911 world, this incident is inexcusable. As nice and honest as Obama has shown himself to be, I can forgive, but not forget incompetence.

    January 7, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. GI Joe

    Hey – we're told as much of the truth as can be told (classified material doesn't need to be given to media or us). This we can deal with. The Cowboy Mentality is long gone but will never be forgotten, or forgiven.

    January 7, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. obama the liar

    this clown should go back to Chicago and get his old job back as community organizer just for America's sake.

    January 7, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    Finally, a reality-based President. Thank God and the voters!

    January 7, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. D.

    I thought he will lay out this new directions on Letterman!?!?
    Or Jay Leno ??!?!?!

    January 7, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. Joe

    It is interesting that no one is accountable for anything when OB's administration was failed big time on last Christmas Day. Big talk but no action. All promises are in the air with this president. Where is the accounterbility he promised?

    January 7, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  21. Allowing a Monopoly doesnt bring down prices

    What he wont tell us is how many of Cheneys moles let this guy get away with his crime.

    January 7, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. goofy

    Well if all this screwup was at his doorstep step down!

    January 7, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. bmw

    President Obama is sincere, intelligent, and competent. Imagine what he could accomplish if the neocons didn't constantly criticize and obstruct him.

    GOP = Guaranteeing Obscene Profits for their cronies.

    January 7, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. jon freda

    We have many agencies sifting through massive amounts of disparate data trying to determine which become serious national security threats that shotuld be sent up the chain of command. Why not develop a meta-hyperlink protocol similar to that used in medicine and research which can weight names, events, places, etc. in a faster and more efficient manner than presently. A lot of times, the failure is a human being not sending a piece of information up the chain. If we had a meta-hyperlink protocol program, seemingly disparate data at all levels can be correlated, weighted, and ranked in seconds, and sent to the major decision makers.

    January 7, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Desmond, Canada

    One of the reasons Americans can be proud of their current President is that, while he recognizes "screw-ups" publically and takes responsibility ("the buck stops with me"), he is about being constructive and addressing the issues and the problems and NOT about knee-jerk reactions like using fall-guys and scapegoats -so much for the pathetic individuals who by "default" look for heads to roll. He has character enough to take the flak!

    January 7, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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