January 5th, 2010
04:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama calls Christmas Day attack an intelligence failure

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that U.S. intelligence has had considerable success, but that the botched Christmas Day attack shows "the system has failed" in a major way.

U.S. intelligence had uncovered numerous "red flags" prior to the attack, Obama said, but failed to connect the dots.

The government's inability to stop the attack does not represent a failure to collect intelligence, the president argued. Rather, it represents a failure to integrate different intelligence strands.

The fact that intelligence was not fully analyzed, Obama said, is unacceptable. The president called for reforms to prevent such an incident from recurring to implemented immediately.

Obama reiterated, however, his intention to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Indy

    Obama did not have solid evidence in his hands like Bush and Cheney did and Obama stood up today and took ownership of the failures and he will fix them. Bush and Cheney had evidence and still could not prevent 911. Then they dropped the ball in Afganastan and let Bin Laden continue his massive training, while Bush and Cheney played terrorists in Iraq. The Christmas day attack was because of Bush and Cheney occupying Iraq. So for all the posts of hate and racism towards President Obama all you are doing is dividing the nation and doing what the terrorists want you to do.Are you happy on the terrorists side with your useless anti President anti American statements ?

    January 5, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. Stu-SWFlorida

    I'm glad OUR President is stepping on the nuts that need stepping on. As usual his desire to learn and have ALL of the information before him is paying off with a clear and concise plan. Make it better than it was...

    How refreshing to finally have a President with an intellectual curiosity and strong desire to make things in America right again!

    January 5, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  3. Mr Joshua

    Really? An Intelligence failure? Whoda thunk it? Man these politicians are really smart like we did not figure that out yet. Sure glad they are on top of these things! I was getting Nervous!

    January 5, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. frank, pennsylvania

    I honestly foresee more intelligence failure since the government has decided to single out some countries rather than dealing with individuals on case by case basis. The christmas day attack was not planned and executed by a nigerian because he is a nigerian, but because he is a moslem with link with islamic extremists in Yemen. In fact, the press should have reported that "an islamic extremist with link with al kaida (rather than a nigerian) attempted to detonate a device in a plane in US" – What he did could have been done by anybody with link with such extremists irrespective of his country of birth.

    January 5, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  5. lifelong democrat

    I'm waiting for Obama to fire John Brennan his intelligence CZAR. Please assign independent people to investigate failure in your sytem; you're asking Brennan to investigate his self. What kind of result do you expect?

    January 5, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. ronvan

    Comon people give me a break! Your bickering back and forth, acusing past & present leaders, drooling over making some kind of point? Tell me if I am wrong here!
    1. Do our current enemies kill men, women & children, even their own?
    2. Have these "animals" declared "war/jihad" on us unil we ALL are dead?
    3. Are those countries our brave military are fighting & dying in really a "security threat" to our country?
    4. Are WE, the U.S. trying to hard to be the "good guys" in trying to help these countries & in not puting the "full force" or our military might into wiping out ALL of these animals?
    5. Are we willing to assist our government/country by realizing some of our rights need to be modified/given up, in order to protect others?
    6. Are we willing to give up/change our habits to ease our dependence on oil and all those other things that make our lives so easy?
    Go on and add more!

    January 5, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. nathanrider

    This was all Obama. HIs own Security Chief was aware of a failed assasination in Saudi Arabia back in October using the same method. Seems that the Administration can only blame the previous for somthing that happened on its watch. Don't give me any of the 9/11 either. Why did Sandy Burger steal documents out of the National Archive if it was to protect his boss.

    January 5, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. change we can believe in ???

    "Obama calls Christmas Day attack an intelligence failure"

    We all knew that..................

    By the way, who is the commander in chief ?????

    January 5, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. joe m

    disturbing that it took the president to acknowledge what so many figured out the moment the news was reported. this is not to say that this failure is the president's fault, for no other reason b/c so much of the systems that failed came before him. however, this tardy assesment confirms the complaints of his detractors.

    January 5, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. Robin in Tampa, FL

    I do hope they one of the fallouts to this is that we get better trained airport security personnel. Because the current set of folks seem like glorified rent a cops than any kind of real law enforcement

    January 5, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. Letcommonsenseprevail

    I figured at least one of you nitwits would blame Bush. You dems are SO predictable it isn't funny.

    Let's try reviewing facts. How about blaming all those people in Congress and the general public who put all that pressure on President Bush to release detainees. If anyone at all is to blame.

    How about this...no matter what we do, a hardline jihadist is a hardline jihadist and will do whatever it takes to take down western culture. Does that sound more like the truth than anything ANY of you have posted on here thus far?

    Has anyone noticed the article about the Al-Qaeda leader who laughed at us recently because he told us he was going to work at his father's furniture store but has since returned to Al-Qaeda?

    Quit placing blame on Bush, he's been gone for a year. Quit placing blame on Obama, he's still fighting an unpredictable war, same as Bush. Let's accept the fact that people are trying to kill Americans everyday and work towards a better defense of our country.

    January 5, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  12. David

    This man is a COMPLETE embarrassment to this country along with the morons that follow him blindly!!!

    January 5, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  13. Right Leaning Independent

    Seems that Obama is as hard headed as Bush. So does he believe that closing Guantanamo will end the recruitment of deranged folks by Al Qaeda? I am pretty sure there was no Quantanamo when these cowards struck on 9/11.

    January 5, 2010 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. Enough is Enough!

    For all of you who relentlessly bashing this Administration need to stop. They took responsibility. Can you count on two hands of how much responsibilities the last Administration took? I thought not! The point I am trying to make is stop wasting all of this negative energy bashing this President and his Administration cause obviously, it is not helping America that you so-call LOVE...

    January 5, 2010 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. Right Leaning Independent

    Stop blaming Bush folks. Obama did not have to run for office – he chose too! If he does not like what he was going to be handed, he should not have run for office! In fact I wish he had not run in light of his weaknesses in dealing with our enemies.... After 1 year, he owns what is happening today! I bet in the future when future presidents heap the blame on Obama policies, Obama will be crying to the media about how unfair the criticism is. But hey, Obama and his supporters are teaching future Presidents how to handle adversity during their administration!

    January 5, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. nate in tenn.

    I thought I heard by your security robot that the system works. If it does,we are in great danger. When one's own family reports a terrorist threat and it is missed , it definately is not working. This is on Obumas watch and he can 't blame the previous adm. Own up that you are not capable of running this country and please give us a permanent change and take your egg head cronies (Reid, Pelosi , Frank,) with you . One yr is waaaay toooo much.

    January 5, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  17. Charlie, NJ

    If this is an intelligence failure than it is Obama's failure also. He can no longer blame Bush like several of the partisan posters here do every chance they get. Sorry, but he has a year under his belt. If it's broke, fix it. Stop blaming others. I want Obama to succeed (like I would any president), but so far I am one unimpressed voter! Fix the problem or shut up!

    January 5, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. Chris

    Obama is also an intelligence failure.

    January 5, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  19. valwayne

    First "The System Worked"! Then Obama has them read the terrorist his Miranda rights, give him a lawyer, and lets him clam up tight even though he could have handed him to the military, FBI, or CIA for interrogation, and now, of course, its the fault of the intelligence agencies that Obama's justice department and Nancy Pelosi have been attacking since Obama took office. The Buck Never Stops on Obama's Desk!!!

    January 5, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. Marie-Silver Spring Md

    Cheney you are a war criminal for allowing those terriost to be released and sent to Yemen the very same place and people that trained another terriost that almost caused the lives of over 250 people and you accuse Obama of putting the country at risk.Those brave americans on that plane are the heros as were the same ones on the plane on 9-11 in Pennsylvania that sacrificed their lives on YOUR WATCH....

    January 5, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  21. File under "Sarcasm"

    An intelligence failure that is "unacceptable". Does that means some one will get fired or is just political double talk for "don't blame me."

    I thought it was a nice touch throwing in the apology for Guantanamo Bay, again. President Obama couldn't blame the security breech on Bush but he tried to remind everyone that the real problem is not airport security but closing Guantanamo.

    January 5, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. dale

    All you folks that want to blame the president are absolutely right. The difference between us is that we can admit it withpout blaming someone else. We still haven't seen one repub take any responsibility for the last eight years of failure. They choose to blame the current administration. Step up and take some responsibility and then maybe you can regain some credibility.

    January 5, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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