Obama summons intelligence chiefs for security talks

Obama to hold meeting

Obama summons intelligence chiefs for security talks


In this Dec 28 file photo, US President Barack Obama speaks to the media about the recent air travel incident at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. APUS President Barack Obama on Thursday summoned US intelligence chiefs to a meeting next week at the White House to discuss how to prevent a repeat of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec 25.

Seeking to quell criticism of his administration over an intelligence breakdown, Obama said he was briefed by his top advisers and would get assessments from intelligence agencies later on Thursday and study them over the weekend before returning to Washington from Hawaii.

Obama had ordered an immediate review of what he called "human and systemic failures" that allowed the accused bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian with alleged links to Islamic militants, to get on the trans-Atlantic flight from Amsterdam.

The incident has put Obama on the defensive, drawing charges from Republicans that his administration has dropped the ball on counterterrorism and exposing intelligence gaps that have lingered on since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

While still on vacation with his family in Hawaii, Obama tried to reassure the U.S. public and grab control of what has become one of his toughest national security challenges since taking office last January.

"On Tuesday, in Washington, I will meet personally with relevant agency heads to discuss our ongoing reviews as well as security enhancements and intelligence-sharing improvements in our homeland security and counterterrorism operations," Obama said in a statement issued by the White House.

A preliminary report is expected to detail the intelligence lapses that allowed Abdulmutallab to board the Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit on Christmas Day with what authorities said were explosives sewn into his clothes.

The Nigerian suspect flew from Africa to Amsterdam, where he boarded the Northwest flight to Detroit.

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