Intelligence Agencies Slammed over Christmas Plot; State, CIA, NSA, NCTC All Cited for Failures

Article excerpt


A scathing new Senate report is blaming nearly every facet of the U.S. intelligence community for failing to connect the dots on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national who attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.

The unclassified summary released late Tuesday found 14 specific faults in the intelligence community's actions prior to the Christmas Day failed bombing that saw an agent of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula nearly detonate a military-grade explosive sewn into his underwear.

The report, for example, faults the State Department for failing to revoke Mr. Abdulmutallab's visa; the CIA for failing to disseminate intelligence on him to other relevant agencies; the National Security Agency for failing to put Mr. Abdulmutallab on a watch list ; and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) for failing to connect reporting on the Christmas Day bomber and to conduct additional research on him.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said, The attempted Christmas Day attack was marked by several intelligence failures.

Mrs. Feinstein's Republican counterpart on the committee, Sen. Christopher S. Bond, offered an equally harsh assessment.

Unfortunately, there is no longer any doubt that major intelligence failures allowed the Christmas Day bomber to almost turn our airplanes into deadly weapons once again, the Missouri lawmaker said in a statement. …