Failure to share information would not be tolerated: US official


''As we often do, given how good our intelligence professionals are; the failure to share that information is not going to be tolerated,'' the official said, hours before US President Barack Obama was to receive preliminary reports of the reviews he had ordered in the aftermath of the failed December 25 bombing attempt.

Acknowledging this as a systematic intelligence failure, Obama had termed it as unacceptable.

"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," Obama said in his first reaction to the December 25 incident.

Preliminary reports have indicated that several intelligence agencies of the US had information about the suspect Nigerian national in bits and pieces; but in the absence of more information; none of them found it appropriate to share with others.

Officials of the Obama Administration say, had that been done, that could have given a wider picture to them, which could have prevented Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from sneaking in deadly explosives inside the plane.

"It's essential that we diagnose the problems quickly and deal with them immediately," the official said.

His close aides said today Obama has been working on this issue and spending quite a bit of time on it during his year-end vacation in Hawaii.

Even as the preliminary report is yet to be received, the official gave an indication of the things to come in coming weeks.

The official said the Obama Administration would "take steps to make sure that there is a systemic capability drawing on all the available technology to make sure that different pieces of information and different databases for information are matched up in such a way as to ensure that all this information that comes in is used in the most effective way to maximise the picture of any developing information".

International collaboration is going to be another important part of the effort of the Obama Administration to ensure that such a thing does not happen in the future.

The US has also announced the dispatch of a team of senior officials to various parts of the world so as to review the process and technologies of screening passengers at various international airports, from where planes fly for India.

The State Department is also expected to announce a new visa policy next week, the official said.

The State Department is being accused of not cancelling the visa of the Nigerian suspect even after his father went to the US Embassy in Nigeria to inform officials about his son's plan.

The US Embassy, though immediately issued a cable on this, the State Department insists that it did not have enough information to revoke the visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab; the Nigerian who has been charged with attempt to blow up the US-bound plane on December 25.

Without prejudging the review process, the official said accountability would be an important part of it.

"We obviously want the reforms that are put into place to be driven by facts and we'll certainly have accountability measures driven by facts, as well," the official said.

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