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US agencies failed to share, investigate bombing plot: report
Thu, Dec 31, 2009
AFP

WASHINGTON, USA - President Barack Obama will receive reports indicating US government agencies failed to share or highlight potentially relevant information about the Nigerian would-be bomber of a Detroit-bound jet on Christmas Day, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The Post, citing unnamed administration officials, said the reports also would conclude 'others were insufficiently aggressive in seeking out what was known about' bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

A clearly frustrated Obama has demanded a full accounting into what he described as systemic intelligence failures after the December 25 attack on a Northwest plane traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit. He is to receive the first reports later Thursday.

Twenty-three-year-old Abdulmutallab is suspected of trying to blow up the flight and receiving training for his mission in Yemen from an Al-Qaeda bomb maker there.

The report said that no government agency checked to find out whether Abdulmutallab had a valid visa to enter the United States after his father appeared at the US Embassy in Nigeria last month expressing concerns about his disappearance and associations in Yemen .

It added that although electronic intercepts from Yemen indicated that an unnamed Nigerian was being groomed for an al-Qaeda mission, and other communications spoke of plans for a terrorist attack during Christmas, none of this information was flagged in a way that would have linked it to the father's report.

'The right information did not get to the right people - there's no question about that,' a senior intelligence official was quoted as saying in the report. 'If all known information had been provided, we would have been down a different path.'

A US government source reported there had been 'voice-to-voice communication' a few months back between Abdulmutallab and extremist Yemeni American cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi indicating that Aulaqi 'was in some way involved in facilitating this guy's transportation or trip through Yemen. It could be training, a host of things. I don't think we know for sure,' the source said privately.

'What [Obama] would fault all of us for is having information that could have been and should have been shared but was not,' a senior administration official was quoted as saying. Among the entities in which performance was reviewed were the CIA, the National Security Agency - in charge of electronic intercepts - and the State Department.

The Post said that the National Counterterrorism Center, established after the attacks of September 11, 2001, had failed to do its job of overall coordination.

 

 
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