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 Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid