January 3rd, 2010
09:08 AM ET
10 years ago

Brennan: Failed Christmas bombing not like 9/11

Washington (CNN) - Human error and system lapses, rather than deliberate concealing of information, allowed a terror suspect with explosives to board a U.S.-bound airplane on Christmas Day, President Obama's terrorism czar said Sunday.

John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the security breakdown in the failed bombing of the Northwest Airlines flight was different from the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"It's not like 9/11," Brennan said, adding that the "system didn't work as it should have" due to "lapses" and "human error."

"There wasn't an effort to try to conceal information," he said, referring to the well-chronicled competition and turf wars among security agencies prior to the 2001 attacks, which was later blamed for the failure to prevent them.

"There is no smoking gun piece of intelligence out there," Brennan said of the failed Christmas bombing, allegedly planned by a Nigerian man who boarded the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan, with explosives in his underwear.

Full story

Filed under: John Brennan • Popular Posts • State of the Union • Terrorism
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. proud dem in nc

    For Dan Holiday: You must be drinking the Limbaugh, right wing freak ,cool aid. It's the right wing traitors that hate this country, not Pres. Obama. Quit listening to the Faux News channel and think for yourself you narrow minded jerk. Bush did nothing about al-qaida until after 9/11. Think for yourself you small minded bigot!! Obama 2012!. Finally a president with brains!!

    January 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. ricky atlanta

    It seem that republican are incapable of using logic and facts! terrorist attempts are worse than 9/11??? WHAT planet o you people live on?... why do I get the feeling that you people want these extremist to succeed?

    January 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. LacrosseMom

    The GOPers want SO desperately to blame President Obama for this FAILED attempt to attack us!

    Prior to President Obama taking Office, the Bush Regime had been responsible for "beefing up" security so this sort of thing could not happen. However, the Bush "security beef up" did not work!

    You can blame President Obama all you want, the FACT IS that the biggest and deadliest terrorist attack on our Nation was .......... September 11, 2001.......... Bush was president!

    January 3, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. Otto

    This is too funny. One poster refer to Obama as the worst president ever. My suggestion is that you get your brain examined and while doing that; get off the drugs.

    If you want to name the worst president of the past 30 years; I'd say GWB. I am still waiting on the facts of the found WMD's in Iraq. I need to know why we have spent almost 1 trillion dollars in a failed attemp in Iraq and the troops who are in need and will need long term assistance. Consider what will be spent long term on these troops; can you imagine another trillion over 20 years?

    You republicans are mindless, insane and shamefull.

    January 3, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. LacrosseMom

    @ phoenix86....... We are still a Nation of Laws, we offer ALL criminals JUSTICE....... that IS WHY we are a Great Nation! The day we stop offering JUSTICE, we are a Fascist nation!

    January 3, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. blame it on system

    We have been lucky this time,may be not next time.
    Politicians/policy makers should get their act together without blaming system all the time,why it is always reactive after some incidence ?What policies and procedure are in place globally for all countries for war on extremism,probabaly none?
    Are there any shared networks or information highways for inofrmation flow globally ,probably none?
    Extremist will always find ways unless all countries actively participates,binding in agaist extremism and have ways for information gethering,analysing,sharing and distributing across all.

    January 3, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Theres one thing for shure if we take a hit from government stupidity Obama needs to pack his bags .

    January 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. German,Irish American

    Brian- Clinton warned Bush over and over again. LMAO The Clinton hand over to Bush was the most hostile transformation in the history of the US. From shredded intelligence, disabled computers, to theft from the White House and Air Force One. Clinton handed over a disfunctional FBI and CIA that would not share information, a depleted and underfunded military, and NO homeland secruity practices, thanks to Clinton policies. If Clinton was so worried about Al-Qaeda, how come he let Bin Laden go? How come HE didn't start a security plan for the airlines if he knew this was coming? You mindless lemmings hatred for Bush doesn't cut it anymore. You elected a community organizer, that you knew nothing about, because he could read a scripted teleprompter, and you believed all his mistated accusations. Now, when it is obvious that he is in over his head, you continue to spew Obamas' hate speech against Bush. Pathetic

    January 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Your comment is awaiting moderation AGAIN

    Don't worry. The republicans will twist and turn and whine and moan and get the public to believe that this attempted failed attack WAS worst than the attack on the Twin Towers. And worst than the shoe bomber Richard Reid's failed attempt .

    The republicans are getting really good at lying and Fox News is really enabling them. I think the American people should set up a fund. Watch Fox tape all the lies and file a suit against them. AND then go after the lies the rest of the MSM insist on repeating. It is a shame they never fact check any of the slurs they print.

    January 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Adam

    Obama...can I be a czar too?

    January 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. Virginia

    How quickly you right wingers forget the financial and international mess the likes of Bush and Cheney left us. Now Cheney has the unmitigated gall to criticize this administration for not continuing torture and general brutality of the Bushies. I say that Pres. Obama has done a very good job of bringing us back from total disaster in the financial breakdown and has managed two wars very well. If it hadn't been for Bush and Co. lies, we would only have one legitimate war to finish. Diverting our troops and energy to Iraq was a lie and a disaster. I don't believe for a minute that Bush actually wanted Bin Laden caught or captured. None of the traitors from the previous administration should be allowed to publicly criticize how our government is run. They nearly brought us to disaster and should stay under their rocks.

    January 3, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. lineman

    This pathetic attempt at an attack showes how inept at attacking the US al Qaeda has become. If anyone wanted to blow up a plane this is the last method you would use. This explosive and it's detonation method is just to unwieldy to be effective. It is however the only explosive they could get on a plane. Al Qaeda has gone from an organization that could carry out an attack like 9-11 to one where their guy burns his whatever trying to set this amatuer explosive off. We now have a group in the White House who are competant enough to kill Bin Laden and that will finish al Qaeda.

    January 3, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  13. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    What does it take to keep the brain-damaged, war-mongering, socialist-fearing right wing nuts to stop posting retarded garbage on here? A high school education?

    January 3, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  14. John

    Actually, under the current administration, we can honestly say there is no intelligence out there.

    January 3, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Tom Kas

    They will never be like 911 John. In fact, they will never be like this one. There will continue to be deaths due to terrorism as long as you people continue to make excuses. Man caused disasters indeed! Get to the heart of this issue and go after the people who are in command and control and are financing these bombers. The people of America are in the line of fire in a WAR with terrorists! You and your superiors are fools not to admit that! If you do not WAKE UP, then these attacks will continue, Americans will die and every time it will be different. That's how terrorists operate in a WAR! My child can see this, why can't this administration?

    January 3, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Hendrik


    I think I am a bit like you. You blather about Obama being this and that and I blather about you and the rest of the right wingnuts. We see things and give it our totally irrelevent spin.

    January 3, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  17. GI Joe

    You republikkkans – so much hate and venom, and only one lifetime to spew it.

    January 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  18. jjamerb

    Funny how the only one who compares Obama to Bush is the Liberals. They just constantly blame Bush for Obama's failures. When are you gonna start taking blame for yourselves.

    January 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Cary from NJ

    Next time it might be....

    January 3, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Doug

    i don't think we can take another 3 yrs of obumer.he's wearing us out!

    January 3, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    In Dick Cheney's twisted mine, he believes predicting an attack on America will white wash the 9/11 deaths that occurred under Bush/Cheney. It's disrespectful to the 3,000 Americans who died and their families if he had the ability to predict 9/11 and didn't stop it. Cheney still enjoys top security after leaving office and he lives right here in America. Furthermore, Cheney was in a bunker hiding on 9/11 so who was he protecting.

    January 3, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Tom Kas

    Brian, You are wrong! Go back and do more research on this, if you did any at all.

    January 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Elliott Carlin

    Just like the economic headlines "Results Not As Bad As Expected".

    That doesn't help anyone and neither does this lapse in security. Had the islamofascist been successful, he would look like a genius to our enemies.

    This administration is so out of its league it is scary.

    Cannot wait until 2012.

    January 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. Aaron

    Angry much? First off Dan Holiday Obama isn't muslim (that has been established) he doesn't have multiple wives Jim (you must have been reading to many hate blogs to come up with that one). As of right now Bush has let more people out of Gitmo than Obama (its a fact, not partisan dribble) which by the way we think now are the ones helping the cells in yemen.
    And Beanne there wasn't email to ft. hood. They emailed the same cleric...BIG BIG difference. Sides, we can't investigate EVERYONE'S email around the world...oh wait we only look at our own citizens with the Patriot Act.
    And to all the other RADICAL right wing nuts (and yes your fervor is compariable to other radicals mentioned here), BOTH parties are to blame for 9/11....who was it MONTHS before 9/11 that was warning Bush of Osama? hmm go read the 9/11 comission before you answer...get your facts strait.

    January 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. Tiredof Libs

    Why do Libs always try to put the blame on something or someone other than their own shortcomings? They are inadequate in ability to lead this country. Their ideas are going to come back to haunt us because these terrorists will attack us on our soil again. There is no one in this administration that has the guts to do anything except blame Bush.

    January 3, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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