President Obama said Tuesday that the government had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot to bring down a commercial jetliner on Christmas Day, but that intelligence officials had "failed to connect those dots."
"This was not a failure to collect intelligence," Mr. Obama said after meeting with his national security team for nearly two hours. "It was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had."
He added: "We have to do better, we will do better, and we have to do it quickly. American lives are on the line."
The tone of the president's remarks on Tuesday - the sharpest of any of his statements since the incident nearly two weeks ago - underscored his anger over the lapses in intelligence as well as his efforts to minimize any political risks from his administration's response.
The president said he was suspending the transfer of detainees from the Guant?namo Bay military prison to Yemen, where a Qaeda cell has been connected to the Dec. 25 attack. While Mr. Obama also renewed his commitment to close the prison, halting the transfer underscores the difficulty he faces in closing the center and reflects the criticism Republicans have directed at the administration.
From USA Today, on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and travel to and from the Olympics:
When the 2010 Winter Olympic Games start in Vancouver on Feb. 12, they not only will draw athletes from across the globe but legions of citizens from the USA - all of whom will need to present newly-required forms of identification to cross the border.
In anticipation of that, and in the face of criticism of the increased documentation requirements and costs for cross-border travel that went into effect last June, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has launched a $2 million marketing campaign to remind people in the Northwest about identification options for border crossings.
Last month, the department began targeting Washington, Idaho and Oregon with radio, television, print and Internet ads, said Joanne Ferreira, public affairs officer with Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection office.
The ads, featuring Olympians such as skier Bill Demong, include reminders that identity documentation will be required to get back into the USA and direct people to a Homeland Security travel website -www.GetYouHome.gov -to find out about the various document options, several of which are less expensive than obtaining a passport.
"I know I'll stick my landing at the border crossing coming home," Demong says in one 30-second TV spot.
3 PM EST
NPPD Infrastructure Protection Assistant Secretary Todd Keil will discuss the Infrastructure Protection mission and the important role of resilience in a Webinar entitled “Infrastructure Resiliency: The Next Frontier in Homeland Security.” For more information: www.dhs.gov/files/programs/critical-infrastructure.shtm