Obama chides intelligence brass

Failing to detect terror plot is not acceptable, says US president


In a highly unusual public rebuke, a grim Obama told the Americans that the government had enough information to foil the attack ahead of time, but the intelligence community though trained to do so had failed to “connect the dots”.
“This is not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it”, the US President said in a statement after a 90-minute meeting with his top intelligence brass in the White House Situation Room.

“Intelligence was not fully analysed and leveraged”, Obama said hitting out that the agencies have missed other “red-flags” before the attack. It was “a screw-up that could have been disastrous” and should have been avoided, he said.
Noting that there was sufficient information to uncover the December 25 plot, Obama said that the intelligence community failed to connect the dots and added that this would not be tolerated.

“Elements of our intelligence community knew that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had travelled to Yemen and joined up with extremists there. It now turns out that our intelligence community knew of other red flags: that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula sought to strike not only American targets in Yemen but the United States itself,” Obama said. Obama had convened a Security Room meeting of his top intelligence and security aides to review the security breach and intelligence failure in the December 25 plot in which a Nigerian national, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, successfully sneaked in explosive inside the a US plane, but somehow failed in igniting it.
Some 300 people were on board the North West Airlines plane coming from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Though the President did not do finger pointing, his top aides said that process was on to make people accountable for lapses.
Obama’s tough remarks came as the alleged bomber Abdulmutallab told FBI investigators that he had received training and instructions from Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen.
The Nigerian is accused of trying to ignite explosives on an American airliner carrying 300 people. A big mishap was thwarted only by malfunction of the explosives and a timely intervention by a fellow passenger.

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