News / USA

Intelligence Officials say Underwear Bomber Should Never Have Boarded Plane

Multimedia

Audio

Senior national security officials admit that systemic intelligence failures led to a would-be airliner bomber being allowed to board a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.  The officials testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, with some lawmakers angry the terror suspect will be tried in a federal court instead of a military tribunal.

National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter spoke bluntly to Senate lawmakers.

"Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should not have stepped onto a plane on Christmas Day," he declared.  "The counterterrorism system collectively failed and I along with Director [of National Intelligence Dennis] Blair and Secretary [of Homeland Security Janet] Napolitano and others want to tell you and the American people the same thing we told the president, that we have to do better," he said.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to detonate a homemade bomb onboard the Northwest Airlines flight, but it failed to detonate. 

Leiter said that contrary to what many people believe, the intelligence failure is different from the one that preceded the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001," he said.

"It was not a failure to share intelligence.  Instead, it was a failure to connect, integrate and fully understand the intelligence we had collected."

Senator Joseph Lieberman said intelligence officials need to find a way to cross-check names of suspected terrorists on various databases to strengthen national security.  He said it is "infuriating" that Abdulmutallab was able to board the plane, citing "systemic failures and human errors."  In cases where government employees failed to fulfill their responsibilities, Senator Lieberman demanded accountability.
 
"In these cases, they should be disciplined or removed," he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano indirectly laid the blame for the foiled attack on the intelligence officials sitting next to her, pointing out that Abdulmutallab was not on the no-fly list.

But Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said that since 2008, there has been political pressure to take names off the list because it causes inconveniences for average passengers.

"Shame on us for giving in to that pressure.  We have now greatly expanded the no-fly list from what it was on December 24," he responded.

Several senators expressed anger about the Obama administration's decision to try Abdumutallab in U.S. federal court, with all the rights that that entails, instead of trying him in a military tribunal.

Republican Senator John McCain said unclassified reports show the alleged bomber was providing information to law enforcement officials until he was provided a lawyer as part of the civilian justice process.

"If that is the case, I think it is a terrible mistake.  I think it is a terrible, terrible mistake when it is pretty clear that this individual did not act alone," said McCain.

National Intelligence Director Blair told the Senate committee that he was not consulted on whether Abdulmutallab should be questioned by the recently created High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.  Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano and the National Counterterrorism Center Director Leiter said they too were not consulted on the decision as to who should question Abdumutallab.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid