The nation will feel "a certain shock" today when the White House releases a report on all the things that went wrong inside the intelligence community leading up to the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a passenger jet as it approached Detroit, President Barack Obama's national security adviser told USA TODAY on Wednesday.
And, retired general James Jones also said, there have now been "two strikes" in recent months — incidents when authorities failed to connect the clues beforehand. The first was the November attack at Fort Hood. Thirteen people were gunned down. Agencies did not put together evidence that might have warned them about the intentions of the suspect, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan.
The second strike was the Christmas Day incident aboard Northwest flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, when a young Nigerian man allegedly attempted to set off explosives.
President Barack Obama, Jones told USA TODAY, "certainly doesn't want that third strike, and neither does anybody else."
The president is scheduled to speak about the initial investigation into the intelligence community's missed signals regarding the attempted bombing at 1 p.m. ET today.
Also today, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that it has been told by officials with knowledge of the investigation that "U.S. border security officials learned of the alleged extremist links of the suspect in the Christmas Day jetliner bombing attempt as he was airborne from Amsterdam to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed."
There was more about what went wrong on Morning Edition today Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy told host Steve Inskeep that his department alerted "every U.S. government agency involved in the national security clearance process" about concerns that the father of the suspect had brought to U.S. officials. The State Department never heard back from the other agencies, Kennedy said. As the president and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have said, Kennedy added, "this was not the way the process should have worked":
Als on Morning Edition, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly talked with guest host Madeleine Brand about the ongoing problem of information-sharing across the federal government's many intelligence agencies:
Update at 9:15 a.m. ET: The Associated Press began the day with a report that a Nigerian official had said suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab met with radical American-Yemeni clerk Anwar al-Awlaki while in Yemen last year. Now, though, the AP says that Yemen's deputy prime minister says the two may have met.
Al-Awlaki is known to have been in contact last year with Hasan, the suspect in the Fort Hood rampage.