Planes still not safe.
Statement for the Record - 20 January 2010
Michael E. Leiter
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
As I have noted, despite our successes in identifying the overall themes that
described the plot we failed to make the final connections—the “last tactical
mile”—linking Abdulmutallab’s identity to the plot. We had the information that
came from his father that he was concerned about his son going to Yemen, coming
under the influence of unknown religious extremists, and that he was not going to
return home. We also had other streams of information coming from intelligence
channels that provided pieces of the story. We had a partial name, an indication of
a Nigerian, but there was nothing that brought it all together—nor did we do so in
As a result, although Mr. Abdulmutallab was identified as a known or
suspected terrorist and entered into the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment
(TIDE)—and this information was in turn widely available throughout the
Intelligence Community—the derogatory information associated with him did not
meet the existing policy standards—those first adopted in the summer of 2008 and
ultimately promulgated in February 2009—for him to be “watchlisted,” let alone
placed on the No Fly List or Selectee lists.
TSA still does not have access to the TIDE data base names for additional
hand searching of these suspects.
The risk has not been diminished.
Labels: Planes still not safe.