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. Dave, NE

    What reviews and why it takes so long. Christmas day attack was last byear when Barak Obama was playing on the beach in Hawaii. He has got up now. Always late for action.

    January 7, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Obama and his liberal cohorts cut the budget for the National Counterterrorism Center, which by the way has the responsibility to 'connect the dots' of intelligence from multiple agencies. Why is this being ignored?

    January 7, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  3. N Miller

    It takes a Big Person to take responsibility for a mistake. A person unwilling to take responsibility for his or her lack of action is a weasle. It is appears we have a bunch on this blog.

    Keep Standing Tall and Firm President Obama

    January 7, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. nancy

    President Obama, I wish you were our leader in Canada. Here at least we would appreciate you.

    January 7, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. Scout, WA

    I thought the president was excellent today, and I applaud him for his honesty and integrity. Characteristics that have been missing in action in the White House after eight years of George-7th-Worst-President-Ever Bush. Honesty, yes, it will take some getting used to, but I like it so far.

    Change I can definitely believe in, and continue to vote for in 2012. Thank you Mr. President, keep up the good work.

    January 7, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    I am amazed at the uproar from the Republicans! Over a FAILED attempt!

    Republicans have all but dragged President Obama out of the White House and crucified him!

    However, when September 11th happened, Bush was a hero. The hypocrisy is disgusting!

    CNN has not reported that the Bush administration, freed 14 Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo, many of whom are now involved with Al-Qaeda in Yemen.

    Republicans are loving this, they know FEAR will get them votes. Disgusting.

    January 7, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. lifelong democrat

    This is ALL your fault Obama, fire Brennan. It's totally moronic for you (Obama) to ask Brennan investigate his self. My God! we're not that dense, we common Americans outside of Washington D.C.

    January 7, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. m smith

    NO country can 100% of the time protect against terriorism. But if anything happens you can bet the president will take the hit from the wingnut repos. When 9/11 happened no one jumped up and blamed the president or vice president but that will not be the case now. You have not heard a word from our former president who has the sense to keep quiet. I think this administraton has been very open about what happened and the fact that the president waited to get all the facts reassures me that he is not some cowboy. The repos are a stumbling block to this administration and people like Cheney McCaine and Paline are more help to the terrorist than anything. Our elected officials should be presenting a united front to the world not trying to scare the public and showing the world what hipocrites they are. Most people who have been complaining seem to know very little about recent history and get their facts from the Fox network which is famous for distortion and out right lies.

    January 7, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    What Obama did not say is the question. This was more smoke and mirrors to cover the truth.

    January 7, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  10. lynn

    Bush didn't have a handle on ANYTHING Reggie! Obama isn't messing up anything. He is trying to fix the mess that was left. This isn't his fault, but I'm definitly glad he is willing to look at the old policies and procedures and fix them so that we can be safer.

    January 7, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  11. mavcal

    Obama and his tough talk. I wonder how his arrogance affects the terrorists? I hate to say this, but this whole incident has only given Obama more camera time – something he can't live without. But we can. The reality is the terrorists are crawling all over the place – tough talking Obama ain't gonna stop what has been in motion for almost 20 years.

    January 7, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. Joe Fattal

    Personaly I don't think there is nothing to review as far as our security is concerned on this one. The people that need to take the blame for it, are the British, and the security personnel in Amsterdam airport, where I have no boubt they knew what he was carrying and let it go, in other words they pass their trash to us to worry about. They should have stopped there, we couldn't do anything about it untill the plane land. That said, Why in the world Obama take responsibility for someone else goof-ups, especially 4000 miles away.

    January 7, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. mac

    and he wonders why we cling to our guns and bibles? barryboy needs to really sit and look up security def. he cant seem to get it right first the party crashers and now the panty bomber or was this guy hired by chenney too better take another look barryboy

    January 7, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. Barack of Batesville

    As long as we have to be politically correct, we will run the chance of being physically dead. We should learn from Isreal and how they screen passengers........They look them in the eye

    January 7, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. Bill

    Let's place the blame where it belongs. Who let a foreign national onto a U.S. bound airplane without a passport?

    January 7, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. 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 listen to Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Mike Mullen.

    Admiral Mullen completely agrees with President Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan – and he greatly appreciates 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 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 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    To those repeating the Faux and Cheney talking points about President Obama's "lackadaisical approach" to the thrwarted Christmas Day attack, I would like to remind you that Bush took 6 days to respond to the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, who was given a lawyer, tried in federal court, convicted, sentenced and is now serving time in federal prison.

    If anything, President Obama's approach of actually trying to get the facts and then doing something about the systemic failure that almost resulted in a successful attack has put our enemies on notice that this president isn't going to sit back, invade a country that has nothing to do with them and in general muck things up like Bush did.

    January 7, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    President Obama is privy to a lot more information than these posters here who love to criticize him – and my guess is real changes will be made to our security and intelligence gathering organizations.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. President!

    January 7, 2010 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. JM

    The systems that failed on Christmas were put in place years ago by the Bush admin, the human error by intelligence agency officials. To say this failure is all the President's fault shows your lack of knowledge...or maybe you don't care about facts, you just want his head on a platter. There are some real ignorant people on this comment board!

    January 7, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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