Obama blames "systemic failure" for jet bomb plot

US president criticises "unacceptable" intelligence failures and promises urgent action

President Barack Obama has said a "systemic failure" by American intelligence allowed a known extremist with explosives to board a US-bound plane last week.

Obama said initial investigations into the failed attack had found the information passed on by the father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was not properly shared, meaning he was not placed on the no-fly list.

The Nigerian man attempted to blow up the plane by detonating explosives in his underwear. A Yemen-based offshoot of al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the plot, and Yemeni officials have warned the group could be planning more attacks.

"Where our government has information on a known extremist and that information is not shared and acted upon as it should have so that this extremist boarded a plane with dangerous explosives that could have cost nearly 300 lives, a systemic failure has occurred and I consider that totally unacceptable," he said.

"We need to learn from this episode and act quickly to fix the flaws in our system because our security is at stake and lives are at stake," he said in a statement from Hawaii where he is on holiday with his family.

Obama said he had asked for initial findings from two reviews into the incident to be presented to him on Thursday, with more comprehensive reports following within weeks.


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