President Barack Obama said Tuesday that "a systemic failure" allowed the attempted Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He called it "totally unacceptable."
The president said he wants preliminary results by Thursday from two investigations he has ordered to examine the many lapses that occurred. It will take weeks for a more comprehensive investigation into what allowed a 23-year-old Nigerian carrying explosives onto the flight despite the fact the suspect had possible ties to al-Qaida, Obama said.
"It's essential we diagnose the problems quickly," he said, interrupting his vacation for a second consecutive day to address the incident, with more anger this time directed at the flaws in the U.S. system.
The suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was on one advisory list, but never made it onto more restrictive lists that would have caught the attention of U.S. counterterrorist screeners, despite his father's warnings to U.S. Embassy officials in Nigeria last month. Those warnings also did not result in Abdulmutallab's U.S. visa being revoked.
On top of that, airport security equipment did not detect the bomb-making devices and materials he allegedly carried on board.
Obama said many things went right after the incident, with passengers and the flight crew subduing the man and government officials working quickly to increase security.
However, he said: "What's also clear is this: When our government has information on a known extremist and that information is not shared and acted upon as it should have been ... a systemic failure has occurred. And I consider that totally unacceptable."
This program aired on December 29, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.