An angry President Barack Obama on Tuesday warned “potentially disastrous” US intelligence failures over a Christmas Day airliner attack were deeper than first thought, and demanded immediate action.
“It is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged,” Obama said in a terse, televised statement after meeting US spy chiefs and top national security aides at the White House.
“That’s not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it.”
Obama said two probes into the botched plot to blow up a Northwest plane showed US intelligence missed other “red flags” as well as the already revealed fact that the top suspect was an extremist who had traveled to Yemen.
He said US intelligence knew that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula wanted to strike not only US targets in Yemen but in the United States itself.
“The bottom line is this — the US Government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack, but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots,” Obama said.
“In other words, this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.
“When a suspected terrorist is able to board a plane with explosives on Christmas Day, the system has failed in a potentially disastrous way,” Obama said, after meeting top spy chiefs and government agency heads.
“It’s my responsibility to find out why, and to correct that failure so that we can prevent such attacks in the future,” Obama said.
This video is from MSNBC’s News Live, broadcast Jan. 5, 2010.