Obama: Anti-Terrorist Security System Failed

Obama: Anti-Terrorist Security System Failed

Good morning. Yesterday I updated the American
people on the immediate steps we took — the increased screening and security of air
travel — to keep our country safe in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on
Christmas Day. And I announced two reviews — a review of our terrorist watch list system
and a review of our air travel screening, so we can find out what went wrong, fix it
and prevent future attacks. Those reviews began on Sunday and are now
underway. Earlier today I issued the former guidelines for those reviews and directed
that preliminary findings be provided to the White House by this Thursday. It’s essential
that we diagnose the problems quickly and deal with them immediately. Now, the more comprehensive, formal reviews
and recommendations for improvement will be completed in the coming weeks, and I’m committed
to working with Congress and our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security communities
to take all necessary steps to protect the country. I wanted to speak to the American people again
today because some of this preliminary information that has surfaced in the last 24 hours raises
some serious concerns. It’s been widely reported that the father of the suspect in the Christmas
incident warned U.S. officials in Africa about his son’s extremist views. It now appears
that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community,
but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect’s name on a no-fly list. There appears to be other deficiencies as
well. Even without this one report there were bits of information available within the intelligence
community that could have and should have been pieced together. We’ve achieved much
since 9/11 in terms of collecting information that relates to terrorists and potential terrorist
attacks. But it’s becoming clear that the system that has been in place for years now
is not sufficiently up to date to take full advantage of the information we collect and
the knowledge we have. Had this critical information been shared
it could have been compiled with other intelligence and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect
would have emerged. The warning signs would have triggered red flags and the suspect would
have never been allowed to board that plane for America. The professionalism of the men and women in
our intelligence, counterterrorism and law enforcement and homeland security communities
is extraordinary. They are some of the most hardworking, most dedicated Americans that
I’ve ever met. In pursuit of our security here at home they risk their lives, day in
and day out, in this country and around the world. Few Americans see their work, but all Americans
are safer because of their successes. They have targeted and taken out violent extremists,
they have disrupted plots and saved countless American lives; they are making real and daily
progress in our mission to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and other extremist networks
around the world. And for this every American owes them a profound and lasting debt of gratitude. Moreover, as Secretary Napolitano has said,
once the suspect attempted to take down Flight 253 — after his attempt it’s clear that passengers
and crew, our homeland security systems and our aviation security took all appropriate
actions. But what’s also clear is this: When our government has information on a known
extremist and that information is not shared and acted upon as it should have been, so
that this extremist boards a plane with dangerous explosives that could cost nearly 300 lives,
a systemic failure has occurred. And I consider that totally unacceptable. The reviews I’ve ordered will surely tell
us more. But what already is apparent is that there was a mix of human and systemic failures
that contributed to this potential catastrophic breach of security. We need to learn from
this episode and act quickly to fix the flaws in our system, because our security is at
stake and lives are at stake. I fully understand that even when every person
charged with ensuring our security does what they are trained to do, even when every system
works exactly as intended there is still no one hundred percent guarantee of success.
Yet, this should only compel us to work even harder, to be even more innovative and relentless
in our efforts. As President I will do everything in my power
to support the men and women in intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security to make
sure they’ve got the tools and resources they need to keep America safe. But it’s also my
job to ensure that our intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security systems and the people
in them are working effectively and held accountable. I intend to fulfill that responsibility and
insist on accountability at every level. That’s the spirit guiding our reviews into
the attempted attack on Christmas Day. That’s the spirit that will guide all our efforts
in the days and years ahead. Thank you very much.

9 Replies to “Obama: Anti-Terrorist Security System Failed”

  1. Actually ya can blame him. He ordered an airstrike on yemen a week prior to this airplane incident which killed 120 civilians. This kid that attemped the airplane bombing was from africa and is a wealthy bankers son however he was staying in yemen.

  2. Yet another catastopic failure in intelligence. Just like when no jets were scrambled until an hour after the first plane hit the buildings in 9/11.

    There is an upside this Christmas Day attempted attack has laid waste to all those embarrasing questions like WTF is america involved in bombing a small village in YEMEN? Has the War on Terror expanded its fronts yet again? Or is this WW3? Can we call it that yet? OUr agression to Arab Countries is what is making us less safe each and every day.

  3. Yes, I remember how President Bush always wore a tie when holding news conferences at his Texas ranch.NOT! He's supposed to be on vacation. And if you were paying attention he said he would "dismantle" them. Doesn't sound like a terrorist friendly guy to me.

  4. @bigc028282

    The truth is Americans are thousands upon thousands of times more likely to die by suicide than a terrorist act. However the common citizen is fed fear propaganda every day by the media. Yet we don't talk about the thousands of people that die every day on the highway, which is ten thousand more times likely to kill you than a terrorist. I am with you, it is all bullshit propaganda.

  5. We should just give up and let the terrorists carry on. We can spare a few people. I mean, after all, they aren't as bad as cars.

  6. misguided individuals carrying out man-caused disasters. we will defeat them with temporarily enhanced screening procedures!

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