Obama: ‘This Was A Screw Up That Could Have Been Disastrous’

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oban.jpgPresident Barack Obama says the foiled Christmas Day airliner attack exposed “a potentially disastrous” security failure and that al Qaeda will stop at nothing in its efforts to kill Americans. Obama said that the U.S. intelligence community had enough information to connect the dots ahead of time but didn’t.

“This was a screw up that could have been disastrous,” the president said during a meeting in the White House situation room, according to the White House media office. “We dodged a bullet but just barely. It was averted by brave individuals not because the system worked and that is not acceptable. While there will be a tendency for finger pointing, I will not tolerate it.”

President Obama said that the United States will halt all transfers of Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen for now, but insisted he is not wavering in his commitment to shut down the prison for terror suspects.

“Given the unsettled situation, I’ve spoken to the attorney general and we’ve agreed that we will not be transferring additional detainees back to Yemen at this time,” Obama told reporters following a meeting at the White House with 20 top security advisers to discuss why the U.S. government failed to prevent the attempted aircraft bombing on X-Mas Day.

“Make no mistake, we will close the Guantanamo prison, which has damaged our national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for Al Qaida,” Obama said. “We will close the prison in a manner that keeps the American people safe and secure.”

Obama has said the X-Mas Day bombing plot was hatched in Yemen, an extremist haven on the Arabian Peninsula. The U.S. Embassy there closed Sunday and Monday because of a terrorist threat. The suspect in the attack, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has reportedly told the FBI that he crafted the plot with Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen. In addition, the Al Qaeda branch there claimed responsibility for the attack.

Immediately after taking office, Obama had pledged to close Guantanamo Bay prison by this month, but that plan has been delayed by a series of setbacks, including resistance in Congress to bringing the prisoners to the United States and difficulties finding other nations willing to take the men.

Yemeni nationals make up nearly half of the remaining 198 prisoners at Guantanamo, and part of Obama’s plan to close Gitmo involved sending many of them home.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged that the decision not to send any more of them back to Yemen soon could mean that an added number of them will have to be transferred to a new prison for former Guantanamo detainees that the administration hopes to set up in Thomson, Ill. There was never a plan to transfer the Yemenis as a group back to Yemen, White House aides said.

(MORE AT POLITICO.COM / Reuters / WCBSTV)


9 COMMENTS

  1. Realizing you have a problem is the first step for a solution. If he gets his act together in national security, we’ll be stuck with his policies on economics, purported global warming and health care (and a pro-gay Democratic majority).

  2. Make no mistake about it;we voters should never have elected him.
    He’s trying to create his own history and current events. Let’s be nice to the poor terrorists and then they will be good.

  3. Speak well?!!!! This is our president and he speaks like a street person. What happen to being our leader and being an example to the people of the USA of how to speak the English language in a dignified manner?

    Funny comment for the UNDERWEAR BOMBER.

  4. akuperma, he will not get his act together about national security and you know it. His mentor is William Ayers who still frequents the White House, the founder of the Weather Underground.

    What he is trying to do is find a scapegoat and that scapegoat is the State Department and Hillary Clinton. He perceives Hillary as his biggest threat for the Democratic nomination of 2012 and this is his way to discredit her or possibly elimating her altogether.

  5. His only problem is that he sees what every intelligent thinker sees. Except that he sees it six months later. Closing Guantanamo he thought would stop Al Quaida recruiting while we all realized that we are merely sending Al Quaida more recruits. And that’s exactly what happened. He also thought that Iran will comply with continued diplomacy while we all told him the opposite. And that’s exactly what happened. His main skill that he has been riding on since the beginning is his confidence that after a year or so he can wiggle out of everything he said and tell the American people “you see I told you so all along” with a straight face and they believe him.

  6. Obama’s foreign policy is a complete failure. All his bending over backwards and frontwards and warmth he gave to the arab world has resulted in an upsweep of terrorism and planned acts.

    Secondly, the world needs to consider dividing up the arab world the way Germany was divided up after WWII. Sound ridiculous? What if there were nations of “cavemen” running ambushing civilized people? Would we not deal directly with them the way they shoot a stray bear or tiger?