Obama speech on terrorist incident

The President is addressing the terror incident this afternoon. The speech was delayed several times today. The “security review” documents are posted here.

I’m liveblogging it.

4:34 PM: The review is complete. Our government failed to connect the dots in a way that would have prevented the incident.

4:36 PM: Our first line of defense is accurate info. Did not happen in lead up to Christmas Day. 1) Although we knew a lot about Al Qaeda in Yemen, the intel. community did not aggressively follow up on info. about attack on homeland; 2) there was a failure to connect the dots; 3) fed into shortcomings in watch list system.

4:38 PM: This was a failure to connect the information we had. Directing series of corrective steps: 1) Intel. community assign leads, assign clear lines of responsibility; 2) Can’t sit on info. about attacks on U.S.; 3) Will improve day-to-day efforts of getting info. and 4) strengthening criteria for getting people on no-fly list.

These reforms will allow us to act on intel. quickly.

4:41 PM: Need to increase security at airports. More baggage screening. More passenger screening. More intense explosive screening. Directing DHS to take steps to increase security at airports — working on next generation of screening.

4:43 PM: We have to stay one step ahead of nimble adversary…we will leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting U.S. It appears this incident was not the fault of one individual or org. It was systemic.

4:44 PM: All agency heads will be held accountable for implementing new policy.

“Ultimately, the buck stops with me…When the system fails, it is my responsibility.”

We are at war. We are at war with Al Qaeda..and they are plotting to strike us again.

4:47 PM: Directed national security team to address issue of “lone recruits.” Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses. We won’t sacrifice open society or hunker down, that’s what the enemy wants. “We will define the character of our country”…not the terrorists…

Okay, now the punditry begins. And, at 5:15 PM, there will be a press briefing by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the President’s Assistant for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security John Brennan Robert Gibbs. Then, at 6:00 PM, Dennis Blair, who serves as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Council Chief of Staff, will be taking questions here.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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