Live-blogging: Flight 253 report

President Obama today released a report detailing how a Nigerian man was able to get onto Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas. The man then attempted to blow it up as it approached Detroit.

  1. Listen Featured Audio

The bottom line? People didn’t do their jobs. And agencies that were set up in the wake of 9/11 to coordinate the sharing of intelligence, didn’t work. Particulars are below.

Meanwhile, the Newark Star Ledger reports last Sunday’s security scare, which forced evacuation of a Newark Airport terminal, was caused by a goodbye kiss. Here’s the video of the incident, released by Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

If you can’t view the video above, go here.

So far, there is no indication authorities will ban kissing at airports. But it’s early, yet.


3:34 p.m. – Repeating that the intelligence officials failed to “connect the dots.”

3:36 p.m. – Shortcomings occurred in three ways: (a) Although intelligence community knew about al Qaeda in Yemen, it did not aggressively follow up on particular streams of intelligence.

(b) The failure to connect the dots extended across the intelligence community.

(c) This fed into shortcomings of the “watch list,” allowing him to board the plane.

The government had the information scattered across the system to foil the plot.

3:37 p.m. – New steps. (1) Intelligence community will assign responsibility for following up on threats. “We must follow the leads that we get.”

(2) Intelligence reports will be distributed more widely.

(3) Strengthening of the analytical process.

(4) Strengthen the criteria for getting on the no-fly and “watch” lists.

3:39 p.m. Obama says a metal detector couldn’t detect the explosives that were sewn into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s clothes. He calls for “the next generation” of screening technologies.

3:41 p.m. – “There’s no foolproof solution. As we develop new procedures, our adversaries will develop ways to get evade them.”

FILE: Here’s the summary of the review (pdf)

FILE: Here’s the president’s directive. (pdf)

3:44 p.m. “I’m less interested in assessing blame… ultimately the buck stops with me.”

3:46 p.m. – “We will not succumb to a siege mentality…” He says, “it’s not a time for partisanship, it’s a time for citizenship.”

With that, the president left the room. A reporter shouted, “Does “Mr. Leiter ( the director of the National Counter Terrorism Center) have your full support and confidence.” Mr. Obama did not answer.

So what are we left with here. Coupled with the Minneapolis “overshoot,” which revealed that the lack of communication between aviation authorities and military authorities had not changed — as assured — since 9/11, it is clear that the security bureaucracy that grew up after 9/11 — including the Department of Homeland Security — did not work. The question that’s not being asked, unfortunately, is can it work. Was the answer to the bureaucratic turf wars that were revealed after 9/11, be solved by creating even more agencies and bureaucracies?

Clearly the intelligence agencies didn’t “connect the dots,” in this case. The question that needs to be discussed is can intelligence agencies connect the dots?

  • Michael

    Here we are nearly a decade after 9/11, and the security lines and the like are still temporary walls, theater-style ropes, junk desks and a floor lamp they must have gotten on special at WalMart. It’s hardly excusing what this guy did, but really — Why is it taking so long to refurbish our facilities in a manner that makes it harder to do stupid stuff like this, gives clear instructions to the patrons, and moves people more efficiently?