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Intelligence Review Led to Obama's Harsher Tone

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- President Obama's remarks today were harsher in tone than yesterday, and more blunt that he has been in some time, calling the failure to block the bomb suspect from boarding a plane coming to the U.S., "systemic" and saying it was totally unacceptable.

Following the statement, a senior administration official briefed the press corps on what led to the statement.

The official said since the attempted attack, the administration, at the president's orders, has been reviewing intelligence and watch list procedures. Late last night, information became apparent that would have yielded a different outcome, had it been addressed.

The intelligence that was discovered to be in the possession of the U.S. government involved the suspect's plans, al Qaeda's plans, and information about potential attacks around the holiday season. The official said that had the information been correlated, "there would have been a different outcome."

The official went on to praise the intelligence community of its work stopping two other terrorist plots this year, involving Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, and said that had the government done the job it had done in those cases, the man would not have been allowed to board the flight in Amsterdam heading to Detroit where he tried to ignite the explosives he was carrying on his body.

The official also said that there is nothing else in the intelligence to suspect that the attempted attack on Christmas day was part of a larger plot or linked to any other extremists.

In terms of who's accountable for the failure, echoing the president, the official said people at the highest level in the intelligence communities will be held accountable.

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Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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