After multiple delays, President Barack Obama finally delivered his highly anticipated 12 minute speech on the Christmas Lap Bomber incident, providing very little specific detail but conceding that “shortcomings occurred.”
Though he provided little insight beyond what had already been leaked about the security failures ahead of the failed bombing, President Obama declared that they were the result of “systemic failure across organizations” and that he would order additional corrective steps.
The speech came with the release of a report on the incident, which National Security Adviser James Jones predicted that many Americans would find “shocking.” Yet the report was, again, largely in keeping with what we already knew, concluding that the assorted US spy agencies had ample data on Abdulmutallab and simply failed to “connect the dots,” a phrase which seems to have gained considerable currency among officials in describing this failure.
But as to what President Obama intends to do, again, the statements were very broad-brush and couched in bureaucratic language. He vowed to “strengthen criteria” for various watchlists and cautioned Americans that it was not a time for partisanship, but a “time for citizenship.”
Other officials are expected to speak about this later in the evening, and it will be interesting to see if they provide any details or insight about what the speech will actually mean in practice.
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