President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that U.S. intelligence agencies had enough information to possibly thwart an attempt to destroy a jet bound for Detroit on Christmas day.
“The U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack, but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots, which would have placed the suspect on the no-fly list,” Obama said, according to a transcript of remarks issued today.
He made the statement at the White House after concluding a meeting with his national security team which had been involved in security reviews ordered after the attempted attack. He said a summary of the finding would be released in a few days but proceeded to release some information.
The president said that the U.S. knew Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had traveled to Yemen and joined up with extremists there.
Agencies also knew that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula sought to strike not only American targets in Yemen, but the United States itself. He said that the U.S. had information that the group was working with an individual whom the U.S. now knows was Abdulmutallab.
He said it is “increasingly clear” that intelligence was not fully analyzed or fully leveraged.
“That's not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it,” he said.
The U.S. government’s goal, he said, was to ultimately dismantle and defeat al Qaeda’s networks.