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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs