Eric Lipton, Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti
Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
WASHINGTON – Worried about possible terrorist attacks over the Christmas holiday, President Obama met on Dec. 22 with top officials of the C.I.A., F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security, who ticked off a list of possible plots against the United States and how their agencies were working to disrupt them.
In a separate White House meeting that day, Mr. Obama’s homeland security adviser, John O. Brennan, led talks on Yemen, where a stream of disturbing intelligence had suggested that Qaeda operatives were preparing for some action, perhaps a strike on an American target, on Christmas Day.
Yet in those sessions, government officials never considered or connected links that, with the benefit of hindsight, now seem so evident and indicated that the gathering threat in Yemen would reach into the United States.
Just as lower-level counterterrorism analysts failed to stitch together the pieces of information that would have alerted them to the possibility of a suicide bomber aboard a Detroit-bound jetliner on Christmas, top national security officials failed to fully appreciate mounting evidence of the dangers beyond the Arabian Peninsula posed by extremists linked to Yemen.
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This article was posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 10:51 am