In addition to receiving warnings directly from the father of suspected terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the U.S. government also received other intelligence pointing to a Yemeni-based Nigerian who was being groomed for a terrorist attack … during the Christmas holidays.
These warnings were linked to the al-Qaeda subsidiary that has claimed responsibility for the attempted attack – and which has promised more violence to come.
Abdulmutallab, who successfully boarded a plane bound for America in Amsterdam on Christmas Day, attempted to detonate a homemade bomb made of PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) over the skies of Detroit. The bomb didn’t go off, thankfully, but the larger question of how he got on the plane in the first place – with the explosives – has become a major headache for the administration of President Barack Obama.
That headache gets worse with each new revelation of missed intelligence.
Privately, the White House is blasting the intelligence community, saying it failed to piece together specific warnings that presaged a terror attack during the Christmas holidays by a Yemen-based al Qaeda operative known as “the Nigerian.”
Initially, Obama’s administration sought to paint the foiled attack as a “success” story, but Obama’s Homeland Security Director, Janet Napolitano, quickly changed her tune in the face of withering public criticism. Specifically, she has backtracked on her initial statement that the “system worked.”
More recently, Obama’s allies in Congress have sought to place blame on S.C. Senator Jim DeMint for holding up the appointment of Erroll Southers, who is Obama’s choice to head up the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
DeMint responded by pointing out that Obama waited eight months to name his TSA director, part of a broader “downplaying” of terrorist threats.