Obama on intelligence failure: ‘The buck stops with me' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Obama on intelligence failure: ‘The buck stops with me'

President Barack Obama President Barack Obama
Jon Brennan Jon Brennan
Umar Abdulmutallab Umar Abdulmutallab

by Steve Handelsman

WASHINGTON (NBC) - President Obama said today he will not fire anyone in the wake of the Christmas Day terror bombing attempt.

But he repeated his harsh criticism of the failures that allowed a suspected terrorist to get a bomb aboard a US-bound flight.

"We can't sit on information that could protect the American people," said the President in his White House remarks.

But agencies did sit on information before Umar Abdulmutallab struck.

The report finds the NSA intercepted talks of an attack by a Nigerian.

The CIA was warned.

And the State Department was tipped about a Nigerian by name, Abdulmutallab. But the National Counterterriorism Center and other agencies failed to put Abdulmutallab on a no-fly list.

Thursday we learned that Abdulmutallab was set to be interrogated once his plane landed in Detroit. Not good enough, says the President.

"We must follow the leads that we get and we must pursue them until plots are disrupted. And that means assigning clear lines of responsibility."

" No one intelligence entity or team or task force was assigned responsibility for doing that follow-up investigation. The intelligence fell through the cracks" said counterterrorism advisor John Brennan.

And Mr. Obama knows where responsibility ultimately rests.

"I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer. For ultimately, the buck stops with me."

One change takes effect immediately: A team will be put together to follow up every lead like the ones the government had about Abdulmutallab so cases like his will not fall through the cracks.

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