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.
More coverage from CBSNews.com:
U.S. Intel Lapses Helped Abdulmutallab
Obama: "Systemic Failure" Allowed Attack
TSA Still Vexed by Explosives Screening
Did Abdulmutallab Talk to Radical Cleric?
Growing Al Qaeda Threat from Yemen
Abdulmutallab Lonely, Web Postings Suggest
Confusion Reigns Over Flight Security
Key Travel Agencies Lack Permanent Heads
Christmas Incident Renews Scanner Debate
Abdulmutallab's "Jihad Fantasies" Revealed
Behind the Abdulmutallab Security Breach
New Focus on Yemen in Counter-Terror Fight
Abdulmutallab Visited Yemen This Year
What Lies Ahead for Air Travel
Al Qaeda: We Planned Flight 253 Bombing
Obama: Plane Bomb Plot a "Serious Reminder"
Officials: In-Flight Restrictions Eased
Tracing Bomb Suspect's Journey to Detroit
Expert: New Security Steps a Smokescreen
Al Qaeda's Yemen Branch Rising in Stature
Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.