The White House report on the attempted underwear-bomb attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (pictured) on a Delta airliner during Christmas contains a lot of praise for America’s “counter-terrorism community” — in the summary, their “excellent analytic work” is lauded, and it is asserted that this work has saved many lives in circumstances “many of which the American people will never know about.”
Nonetheless, the report admits that Abdulmutallab was allowed on the flight due to “human errors and a series of systematic breakdowns.”
The report claims that the U.S. “had sufficient information” to “potentially” keep Abdulmutallab off the plane. “Watchlisting personnel” with access to his record, it suggests, did not find information that met “the minimum derogatory standard to watchlist” — that is, they were able to get to some info, but this “did not result in them uncovering the biographical information” that would have put him on the No Fly List.
Also, there was “delayed dissemination of a finished intelligence report,” as well as “incomplete/faulty database searches” pertaining to Abdulmutallab. As a result, though all the dots were at hand, “the dots were never connected.”
The solution: reviews! The State Department will review its visa processes; Homeland Security will come up with new screening and aviation security recommendations; National Intelligence will make a better org chart so everyone knows who’s responsible for what, and “accelerate” and “ensure” some other stuff; CIA will “issue guidance” and “strengthen procedures”; etc.
There will also be “interagency reviews” to make sure the various parties responsible for national security will be better able to get each other the necessary dots as they roll in.