Report: Failures in Christmas Attack Mirror 9/11

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab over Northwest Airlines tail and remnants of the underwear and device allegedly carried by suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. AP/CBS

Congressional investigators say some of the same intelligence failures that led to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks also allowed a Nigerian to slip on board a U.S.-bound jetliner with a bomb on Dec.25, Christmas Day.

The Obama administration has said that the nearly catastrophic bombing was not a failure to collect and share intelligence as before the Sept. 11 attacks. Rather, it said it was a failure to understand that intelligence.

The Senate Intelligence Committee disagrees. A 16-page summary of its investigation says some of the same systemic problems remain in place nearly a decade after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

Special Section: Terrorism in the U.S.
Special Report: The Christmas Day Terror Attack

The declassified summary announced by Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Vice Chair Kit Bond, R-Mo., lists conclusions and recommendations from the investigation..
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"Unfortunately, there is no longer any doubt that major intelligence failures allowed the Christmas Day bomber to almost turn our airplanes into deadly weapons once again,' Bond said.

Among the report's conclusions:

Bomb suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was not placed in the "Terrorist Screening Database," "Selectee List," or on the "No-Fly List," even though he should have been, and the relevant agencies failed to fully investigate Abdulmutallab.

The State Department should have, but did not, revoke Abdulmutallab's visa. State Department consular officials in Abuja, Nigeria, were told that Abdulmutallab was involved with extremists in Yemen. However, when they checked whether he had a U.S. visa, they misspelled his name and therefore failed to find and revoke the visa. Had the State Department consular official searched thoroughly, Abdulmutallab's U.S. visa would likely have been located in the Department's database.

Intelligence reports on Abdulmutallab were not distributed appropriately within the CIA. Separately, the CIA did not disseminate other key reporting on Abdulmutallab until after the attempted Christmas attack.

A CIA Counterterrorism Center Office did a limited name search that failed to uncover key intelligence reports on Abdulmutallab. Separately, CTC analysts, the NCTC's Directorate of Intelligence, and other analysts failed to connect the intelligence reporting on Abdulmutallab.

A CIA regional division at CIA headquarters did not search databases containing reports related to Abdulmutallab. Additionally, an improperly configured FBI computer profile prevented an FBI counterterrorism analyst from accessing all relevant intelligence reports on Abdulmutallab.

Analysts across the intelligence community were focused on threats to U.S. interests in Yemen posed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), rather than on potential AQAP threats to the U.S.
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