January 7th, 2010
05:04 PM ET
4 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. Ancient Texan

    As lackadaisical as the president himself has regarded the Terror threat, how can he expect the intelligence community to take it seriously either. He's run arouind the world apologizing to terriorist countries and thinking he's made friends with them. Guess what, they believe that he's really weak on the subject.

    January 7, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Cheneys hidden army of moles

    Cheney runs his mouth while his moles allow these guys on airplanes just so he can say,"I told you so".So seems to be his favorite word,guess he doesnt care about Americans,just how much money his monopoplies can make him in the stock market.

    January 7, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. big papa

    When are we going to have ACCOUNTABILITY from:

    THE MEDIA...

    ...I remember when ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News had investigative reports back in the day with undercover JOURNALISTS who would TEST airport security...

    ...now all we have are LAZY gossip mongerers, voyeurs and propagandists for the corporaste controlled right wing scum machine...

    When are we going to have a media that investigates WHO is making money off Guantanamo Bay; Dick Cheney's (family) Halliburton-XE connections,; and where all of our tax dollars have gone with the banks?

    ...why are we so laser focused on a FAILED bombing attempt on X-mas day, that NOBODY was interested in?

    Why have we allowed the elitists in the MEDIA to pull us once again into THEIR world?

    Who flies anyway?

    Media, politicos, and corporate prostitutes....

    January 7, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. lizzy

    First some want to blame him for not coming out fast enough. Now some want to blame him for accepting full responsibility. This is why I appreciate the fact that this president does not live by polls and the silliness of so many of us. To each his own, however I am so very glad to have a president who is not only intelligent but determined to protect us all.......even the ones who wish upon a star nightly that he will fail.

    January 7, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. Larry of Massachusetts

    But for a faulty detonator and a brave act by passengers, a US airliner would have blown up on Christmas Day with 300 lives lost -and nobody is being replaced. THIS IS A JOKE -– Shame on President Obama for lacking the command leadership to make changes. Instead he writes memos and holds meetings. If Obama were in charge when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, he would have sent a really mean memo to Japan and asked the DOD and Joint Chiefs to be more careful next time.

    January 7, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. L for Legend

    Like the intellegent man he is, Mr. Obama didn't rush to judgement and start babbling, but took time to assess the situation with his advisors. Now the country can move forward with a solid plan to defend this country.

    January 7, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. JES

    You should just resign and the US would be better for it. If the bucks stop with you then after what you have spent of our tax dollars how much more damage do you want to do the the people of the United States.

    January 7, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "anyone feel safe??"

    My hand is raised. I refuse to live my life afraid to open my closet, checking under the bed before I crawl under the covers, and wearing Depends and a flak jacket to the airport. I know you guys think it's useful to promote the fear and accuse Obama of not caring or knowing what he's doing, but (a) he quite obviously does care, and that's a silly, irrational argument, (b) he quite obviously does know what he's doing and akes the time to gather intelligence and expert opinions to inform his decisions, and (c) a majority of this country voted for him, in part, specifically because we no longer believe that the right way to conduct our foreign relations is to threaten, insult, bully, and basically thump our chest and throw poop like an angry 300million limbed gorilla. You're not winning converts with the Cheney-esque rhetoric, just riling the people who already believe what you do...so if fundraising is all you care about, not this country or its people...please, continue.

    January 7, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. cmoore

    Nice reading from Tele Prompter, but no confidence in this failed President.

    January 7, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. jj wiggins

    i would much rather you all say the real reason you all dont like obama. because he is black. I thought that the truth was the christian way preached to me by the Late Dr Adrian Rodgers rip. Smh

    January 7, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. Appreciate it President Obama

    Thank you Mr. President for a realistic, non-hysterical response. We the majority of the people did the right thing electing you.

    I sure don't remember all this hysteria over the shoe bomber, a very similar incident. Get a grip GOPs.

    January 7, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Actually, let me revise that...I do get scared at the airport...I'm just plain old terrified of flying :-)

    (but it's not the GOP's scary brown boogeymen with long beards and non-christian beliefs who have the unmitigated gall to insist on sharing MY planet with me...end sarcasm)

    January 7, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. Mark

    Obummer is so busy trying to follow the Cloward-Priven principles he doesn't have time to waste on silly things like national security, easier to destroy our country from the top.

    January 7, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. Mark

    Kind of hard to have security when obummer takes CIA agents away from fighting terror and puts them working on global warming....he is a total idiot

    January 7, 2010 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Shame on President Obama for lacking the command leadership to make changes"

    And if he had tried without there being some impetus like this attempted attack, do you really think the GOP would have supported him or would it have obstructed and claimed he was dishonoring the effectiveness and efficacy of our loyal intelligence agencies/agents, acting like big brother, consolidating his big government, spending more money, etc., and then insist on holding congressional hearings on every change he was trying to make...all while farting talking points all over the airwaves and intertubes? If you think he could've gotten anything done before there was no way for the GOP to stay credible while blocking it, then you're crazy.

    January 7, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. Ann

    But "ultimately, the buck stops with me."

    so charming way of 'assuming responsibility"... does anyone feel safer?

    January 7, 2010 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Chandler

    How in the world can anyone say Obama doesn't have the leadership to make changes? He just issued 4 drastic changes! How can people say that Obama doesn't take the terrorist threat seriously? I keep hearing Republican talking heads (and now the internet trolls) repeating the same catch phrases....but it is all sound and fury signifying nothing. There is no basis for that claim. Just because you say the President doesn't care about terrorism, doesn't make it true. His actions directly discredit that idea. How can Dick Cheney bash Obama when it was the Bush adminstration that put the faulty system in place?

    January 7, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  18. donttreadonme

    No they were all too busy hunting down conservative terrorists! You know the ones who oppose the spending bill and higher taxes.

    January 7, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. Pete

    Folks, the only way you could ensure 100% security would be to turn the US into a North Korea style police state. The complete overreaction and panic by Americans over the undie bomber is proof that the terrorists have already won. Heck, they don't even need to kill anyone to make Americans freak out.

    January 7, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. word of reason

    These right wing idots shold whatch what Obama's top Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism Official said: "....I let him down and I promiss to do better" THAT'S WHAT LEADERSHIP IS ALL ABOUT.

    With people like that around Obama I am sure he will be alright in keeping this country safe. Bush was told what to do and we got September 11 as a result. Obama tells people what to do and terrorists blow up their underwears....get the point?

    January 7, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. moderate voter from FL

    if memory serves me right; didn't Bush wait months before deploying troops to Iraq? Selling the idea that Sadaam had weapons of mass destruction. We've been in Iraq for 8years and I am still searching for the articles about where these weapons were found! The reality is conservatives don't want to admit that this president was right and gathering facts before he went to war! I am a moderate leaning right and Obama has been on point thus far. Like him or leave him but do us all a favor and head to Iraq....I think there are still "weapons of mass destruction" our troops "missed"

    January 7, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Jasmine in Germany

    I see the Obama Administration is still working on correcting the flaws of the Bush Administration. He's doing the right thing.

    January 7, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  23. Shelly

    We, Americans, are a whining, complaining and angry bunch. We have forgotten who we are....a Nation of ONE people who are civil, progressive and value intellect, common sense and respect for all.
    In times like these we need to stop complaining and support our Government to defeat the evil threats posed to us. Our silly behavior will bring us down and that is EXACTLY what Al Queda wants.
    STOP the Anger and Blame and ACT like civilized citizens of this GREAT country!!!!!

    January 7, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. liberal wingnut

    Another empty speech

    January 7, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. jules sand-perkins

    I sincerely hope that President Obama can organize this national defense program and keep us safe.
    Nobody really wants the President to fail.
    When he was elected, most of us had great hopes for his success, and he has accomplished some good things.
    To support President Obama at this dangerous time, many of us with differing economic-system preferences will have to separate issues cleanly, not bringing our capitalistic disappointments to a table where war is the subject.

    January 7, 2010 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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