There are shortcomings in US intelligence system: Obama

"In our ever-changing world, America's first line of defense is timely, accurate intelligence that is shared, integrated, analysed and acted upon quickly and effectively. That's what the intelligence reforms after the 9/11 attacks largely achieved. That's what our intelligence community does every day," Obama said.

"But, unfortunately, that's not what happened in the lead-up to Christmas day. It's now clear that shortcomings occurred in three broad and compounding ways," Obama told reporters at White House after receiving preliminary reports on December 25 failed bombing of a NorthWest Airlines plane.

"Although our intelligence community had learned a great deal about the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, called al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, that we knew that they sought to strike the US and that they were recruiting operatives to do so, the intelligence community did not aggressively follow up on and prioritise particular streams of intelligence related to a possible attack against the homeland," he said.

This, the President argued, contributed to a larger failure of analysis, a failure to connect the dots that existed across America's intelligence community and which together could have revealed that Abdulmutallab was planning an attack.

He said that this in turn fed into shortcomings in the watch-listing system which resulted in this person not being placed on the no-fly list, thereby allowing him to board that plane in Amsterdam for Detroit.

"In sum, the US government had the information scattered throughout the system to potentially uncover this plot and disrupt the attack. Rather than a failure to collect or share intelligence, this was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had," Obama said.

"Now, that's why we took swift action in the immediate days following Christmas, including reviewing and updating the terrorist watch list system and adding more individuals to the no-fly list, and directing our embassies and consulates to include current visa information in their warnings of individuals with terrorist or suspected terrorist ties," said the US President in his live broadcast speech.

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