Abdulmutallab Didn't Target Christmas Day

President Obama is spending the last days of his Hawaiian vacation studying reports from his intelligence agencieswhich detail the information and security gaps that led to the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253.

CBS News Justice Correspondent Bob Orr reports, while no one has yet been fired, a Senior Administration official signaled changes, saying: "...the failure to share...information is not going to be tolerated."

The CIA, NSA, National Counterterrorism Center and the State Department all had bits of information about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Some of it dating back to communications intercepted by the NSA in August.

Special Report: The Christmas Day Terror Attack

But, Abdulmutallab was never put on a watch list or identified as a threat until the PETN explosive hidden in his underwear failed to detonate. Security experts say had the suspect been flagged for extra screening the bomb would have been found.

"If that person had been a selectee then a whole protocol that includes explosive detection that does detect PETN would have been applied," said former TSA Administrator Kip Hawley.

Sources tell CBS News that Abdulmutallab did not specifically target Christmas day. Investigators say he did plan to travel during the busy holidays - when big crowds and long screening lines would make it less likely that he'd face extra scrutiny.

But, he only picked the Christmas flight because that was the day a seat was available.

That's consistent with the way al Qaeda operates. The terror group does not usually target anniversaries, holidays, or symbolic dates. Instead al Qaeda attacks when it's ready and sees an opportunity.

Investigators still do not have any evidence of a wider plot. One official said "we don't know of any other bombers in the pipeline." But, it's now clear Abdulmutallab had strong ties to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - a terror group in Yemen that continues to recruit and train jihadists.

More coverage from CBSNews.com:

Studying Arabic a Cover for Abdulmutallab?
U.S. Born Cleric Key Player in Bomb Plot?
Official: We Knew Al Qaeda Planned "Christmas Surprise"
U.S. Intel Lapses Helped Abdulmutallab
Friend Says Abdulmutallab Was Not Extremist in London
Yemen, North Africa: Terrorism's New Home
Yemen Raids Al Qaeda Hide-Out; 1 Arrested
Opposition Grows to Transferring Gitmo Detainees to Yemen
Dick Cheney: Obama Stance "Makes Us Less Safe"
Obama: "Systemic Failure" Allowed Attack
Roommate: Abdulmutallab Shunned Women
Abdulmutallab's Missing Months in Yemen
Tracing Bomb Suspect's Journey to Detroit

  • Bob Orr

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