December 29th, 2009
04:51 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama: Systemic, human failures let terror suspect on U.S. flight

(CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that a "mix of human and systemic human failure" allowed a terror suspect to board a U.S. airliner in the botched bombing attempt on Christmas Day.

In a brief statement to reporters during his vacation in Hawaii, Obama said information on the suspect should have been sufficient to alert authorities to prevent him from getting on the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan.

"A systemic failure has occurred and I consider that totally unacceptable," Obama said, adding that the breakdown was "a mix of human and systemic failure."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. rob

    I want to know if the defendant has volunteered any information regarding who trained and equipped him how he was recruited, where they are now and is there another attack imminent. Oh yeah they read him his miranda rights and got him a lawyer so he gets comfy clothes and nice food to eat while we get no information that might stop future attacks.

    December 29, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. Debbie in VA

    When the Republicans pointed this out earlier you all jumped on them about how they hate America and CNN said they went on the attack. Now that President Obama says it, you all blame Bush. Nice way to intelligently debate the issues. At some point you really are going to have to let Bush go. It is really getting old to hear you guys whine about Bush. He's gone, you guys are in charge and have been since 2006.

    December 29, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Peter s

    What a honest wonderful President!! he did come beating his chest! he admitted there was a human error! Bravo mr President for using your brains than your muscles!!. Im sure you will protect and defend America better than Cheney and his clonies!!!

    December 29, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Waaaaa Waaaaaaaa

    I guess with Obama, the "buck" doesn't stop at the top. He is weak and the terrorists know it. That is why they are striking now. Any of you libs a little ticked off that in the last couple days, the words coming out of Obama's mouth sound more like Bush? LOL ROFL

    December 29, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. D.

    The president has done nothing to strengthen our national security and to assure the CIA they can do their job right and will be backed up!
    Now he is complaining about the failure!
    "The Audacity of No-Op!"

    December 29, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Obama IS The Systemic Failure

    Obama is in way over his head. The terrorists know it, and they are starting to take advantage of it.

    December 29, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  7. unemployed by Obama

    Gotta blame someone dont you Obama, becaus it is you who has made this country less safe.

    December 29, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. Impromptu

    This is a weak , late and inadequate response. It is disappointing, delayed ,lifeless. It indicates a President who is completely controlled by polls. There can be no half-baked compromises on terror or with terrorists. Obama's response does not even mention the hero who disarmed the bomber. The time for politically correct chatter is over.
    Very poor.

    December 29, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Impromptu

    Not to mention that it is fine to gate crash POTUS state dinners. What is next?Wake up!

    December 29, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Perusing-through


    When 9-11 occurred, all Americans came together in one voice. Nearly 3,000 people were killed. It was not like Bush had some special charm; but the nation came together because that is how family acts when outsiders attack.

    However, when an incompetent jerk from half-way around the world burns his 'private parts' off while trying to kill Americans, it is shocking to watch pathetic hypocritical Republicans attempt to attack the President instead of coming together as the Democrats and Independents did on 9-11.

    December 29, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  11. KO

    Of course Republithugs think this is Obama's fault–they think cold weather and achy joints are his fault too.

    The fact is there was a systematic failure here–the CIA was warned, but it didn't go further than that. That's the CIA's fault, not Obama's–however, he's owning up to and acknowledging that a problem occurred, and directing his administration to fix it. That's way more disclosure than Bush ever would have done.

    December 29, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  12. Jim in Florida

    Same article

    "mix of human and systemic human failure"


    "a mix of human and systemic failure."

    Those "systemic" failures are god awful aren't they Barry?
    My recommendation , Mr. President, is that you start to act like a leader and President.

    Go after the terrorists before they come after us. If you sit on your hands they will definitely come after us and next time the bomb may just detonate.

    1. Keep GITMO open.
    2. Reinstitute "harsh" interrogation methods.
    3. Allow the CIA use of "foreign" locales at which the CIA can sweat these wad wastes and get as much information as possible.
    4. Ensure our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to help us get the terrorist BEFORE the terrorist gets us.

    Oh yes, and, either Yemen cracks down or we do it for them.

    December 29, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  13. Joe M

    The SYSTEMIC FAILURE was electing Obama..

    Janet Napalinto., is a POLITICAL HACK..She drove the state into bankruptcy and let every illegal in that she could..

    December 29, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. proud dem in nc

    The loser went through airport screening in Amsterdam, not the US. How is this Obama's fault. Stupid Republicans

    December 29, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  15. Great campaigner, effective politician, lousy president

    His dithering at the start of this and the ineptness of Napolitano have put Obama behind the eight ball on this. He talks a good game about accountability and what is 'unacceptbale', but that is just to appease the people. His Homeland Security 'Tsar' needs to be replaced. She has lost the confidence of the American people after claiming the system worked in preventing a successful attack....!

    December 29, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  16. mavcal

    Obama can yap all he wants, but the fact of the matter is the buck stops with him. The systemic failure is his administration. Maybe Dick Cheney was on to something when he criticized Obama about this very thing happening. Obama needs to spend less time in front of the cameras and more time behind his desk taking care of business instead of flapping his tongue.

    December 29, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. Jasmine in Germany

    I fail to understand why Obama is so critized for this mishap. As far as he knew, the NATO countries covered their own airport securities, the "offender" entered a plane within the jurisdiction of a foreign country. That is not Obama's fault, it is still the fault of the regime of G. W. Bush and the party which claims to know it all. That happens to be the same party that thinks good international relations aren't necessary for the USA Hello?

    December 29, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  18. sherry

    Bush is to blame.....he took Yemen off the terrorist watch list before he left office......Hello.....wake up

    December 29, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. Bren

    PLEASE resign Obama---go and find a community to organize.

    The first attack on the towers, the embassy attacks, the US Cole attack--all under Clinton.

    The Clinton Admin left many of the terrorists escape-–those who were responsible for 9/11.

    Watch the documentary "The Events Leading Up to 9/11'.

    Obama, Napolitano, Holder, etc.---are placing US citizens and our country at increased risk for another terrorist attack.

    We already had one terrorist attack under Obama's watch--Fort Hood--what is next????

    December 29, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  20. For God's Sake . . .

    Who actually wins with this constant divide and vitriole? The Dems? NO. The Republicans? NO. The American people? NO. The terrorists? YES.

    I believe we need to get back to the basic fact that there is good and evil in the world - and it is NOT ameliorated by psychotherapy or "turning the other cheek." It is ONLY effective when we collectively say, "WE

    December 29, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  21. cnn wont post

    Maybe he President can do what his Secretary of DHS did and say "this is what we inherited from the former administration" She has been Secretary almost a year and needs to take responsibility for the breakdown. This President should pay more attention to the threat to our country and not on pushing / "pep talking" better known as forcing our elected officials into voting for a health care bill. More threats to our nation have taken place since Obama took office since 2001. The terrorist think we are not strong or united thanks to this administration.... When will this stop maybe we can blame Bush until Obama is out in 2012

    December 29, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  22. German,Irish American

    Speaking of Richard Reid, that the Obama lemmings like to trot out, how come we didn't hear about him from the MSM, or the lemmings, this summer, when Obama quietly overturned the strict curbs on his restriction, and now allows him to associate and pray with other terrorist inmates, and allows him access to news media and renew old pen pals? Could it be that they knew the public would be outraged if they knew how much Obama plans to coddle the jihadist Muslem terrorists, and they wanted to protect the idocy of Obama and his administration?

    December 29, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  23. Richard

    Typical Republicans, looking for any chance to use the politics of blame and fear with regards to terrorism. It's almost like they're hoping for it. Of course none would admit it but strap those guys to a lie detector and we'd see just how sleazy some of them really are. It's not like Obama went all out to dismantle the Bush solution to airport security. What is in place now is largely what Bush had created. If Republicans took two seconds to think they'd realize that Bush had almost the whole of his presidency to get it right with airport security. That's right you shameful Republicans, after September 11th and Richard Reid you still weren't able to get it right. Once again the Democrats are left to clean up the Republican mess.

    December 29, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  24. Michael

    It is time to change from the Bush system to a new and better system that works together. Pres. Obama needs to review it and fix it. God was with us this time so thats not let our guard down. And why would the CIA allow this to happen are they still working for THE CONSERVATIVES/REPUBLICANS AND BUSH AND CHENNEY?They did say they want the Pres. to fail. Just think about that.

    December 29, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  25. Mr. Rationalle

    It's a shame that Obama relied on the policies that were put in place under Bush to counter terrorism. After all, Bush only had 7 1/2 years to get this right.

    So if Bush messed this up too, what did he do right?

    December 29, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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