News

Obama Vows to Disrupt and Dismantle Terrorists in Wake of US Plane Incident

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States will use every element of its national power to thwart and defeat enemies seeking to launch terror attacks.  Mr. Obama's remarks came in the wake of Friday's foiled bomb attack on a U.S. airliner.

President Obama made a brief statement in Hawaii where he and his family are vacationing for the Christmas holiday.

The president outlined a series of steps designed to enhance airline security in the wake of Friday's incident in which a Nigerian national allegedly tried to detonate explosives aboard a Northwest Airlines jet en route from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Mr. Obama sought to reassure Americans in the wake of the incident that the government is doing all it can to protect citizens from terrorist attacks and to keep up the pressure on those who would attack the United States.

"We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us -- whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland," Mr. Obama said.

A group known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the airline attack in an Internet statement on Monday.  There was no independent verification of the claim by the group, which said the bombing attempt on the airliner was in response to U.S. efforts targeting al-Qaida in Yemen.

President Obama said he has ordered a review of the process of how terror suspects are added to the government's terror watch list and the so-called no fly list.

The suspect being held in connection with the attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was listed in a government intelligence database that includes those with possible links to terrorism.  But he was not included on the terror watch list or the no fly list.

Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to detonate explosives aboard the Northwest Airlines flight.  The suspect suffered burns as he attempted to ignite an  explosive material known as PETN.  Abdulmutallab was restrained by passengers and crew.  He is now being held in a prison in Michigan.

Abdulmutallab bought his plane ticket with cash and traveled with little luggage -- indications that often trigger the attention of security officials.  He did have a valid U.S. visa, even though his name was in a government database of people who might have terrorist ties.  That is one of several aspects of the case that U.S. officials are investigating.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke on NBC television's "Today" program.

"How did this individual get on the plane?  Why wasn't the explosive material detected?  What do we need to do to change perhaps the rules that have been in place since 2006 for moving somebody from the generic TIDE [i.e., Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment] data base to a more elevated status?  All of that is under review right now," Napolitano said.

Abdulmutallab's family says their son cut off contact with them months ago.  And the suspect's father raised concerns with officials at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria that his son was becoming radicalized.

Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says that should have raised concerns about Abdulmutallab's visa status.

"There was a point in the last month that this individual's father came to the embassy and gave them some information.  At that point, I think, someone should have looked at the visa that had been previously given and suspended it," Chertoff said.

Government prosecutors want to obtain a DNA sample from the suspect, but a federal judge has postponed a hearing to consider that request until January 8.

In the wake of the incident, airline and airport security measures have been tightened in the U.S. and abroad.

This woman arrived in the United States on Monday from Europe and described what she went through with security checks.

"He went through each person's carry-on baggage.  They did pat you down.  An hour before we landed, we could not get up out of our seats and everything that we had had to be stowed," she said.

Security experts say more precise imaging machines may have detected the explosive material that Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to ignite, but those machines are costly and are in limited use at most airports.

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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs