White House Releasing Details of Flight 253 Security Issues
Posted on Jan 7, 2010
The White House’s decision to release information that points to why U.S. intelligence agencies failed to nab the foiled underwear bomber before he boarded Northwest Flight 253 on Dec. 25 may have something to do with publicly shaming those agencies, but whatever the motivation, “a declassified version of a report detailing the security gaps” will be available Thursday, according to The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is coming to the defense of National Counterterrorism Director Michael Leiter, who took a vacation with his 7-year-old son the day after Christmas, The New York Times reported Thursday. —KA
The Washington Post:
Customs and Border Protection officials screen passengers against terrorist watch lists before international flights leave for the United States, then check names against a larger database while the flight is en route. During the second check, officials noted information that Abdulmutallab’s father had provided to U.S. officials in Nigeria, warning that his son had drifted into extremism.
Still, there was no guarantee that the information provided by the father would have been enough to deny Abdulmutallab entry into the country.
“We had in our possession information that likely could have prevented or disrupted the incident on the 25th of December from happening,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Some experts have said the failure to connect the dots of the plot confirmed fears that the massive amounts of terrorism-related information being gathered in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks might outgrow the capacity to manage it.
AP / J.P. Karas
Northwest Airlines Flight 253 sits on the runway after arriving at Detroit Metropolitan Airport from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.