US lawmakers question intelligence breakdown in failed flight bombing bid

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Washington, Dec. 27 (ANI): In the wake of a failed flight bombing bid by a London based Nigerian student, US lawmakers have raised questions over the intelligence breakdown, which facilitated the suspect to smuggle an explosive mixture onto the Detroit-bound airplane despite the fact that his name was on a federal terrorism watch list.

Congressional lawmakers pledged to hold hearings next month to find out whether intelligence agencies were properly sharing information about the suspect, since sources said that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, had been in an intelligence database, that includes people with known or suspected terrorist ties, for "some time."

Republican. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich. compared the latest incident to the Fort Hood shooting, in which officials knew about the suspect's contacts with a radical imam.

"We may be seeing a pattern here. Are we seeing here a breakdown in our intelligence community, when we see these red flags we're not recognizing them and responding appropriately?" The New York Times quoted Hoekstra, as saying.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson added: "He did appear on some databases, but not a no-fly list database. We want to make sure that it was not human error or the sharing of information" that prevented the suspect from being caught earlier, Thompson said. "Information sharing has always been an issue."

On Friday, Nigerian-origin Abdulmutallab tried to ignite an explosive device aboard a trans-Atlantic Northwest Airlines flight as the plane prepared to land in Detroit. A preliminary FBI analysis identified the explosive substance as PETN, or pentaerythritol.

FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials have issued a "situational awareness bulletin" to the airline industry.

"The Department of Homeland Security immediately put additional screening measures into place -- for all domestic and international flights-to ensure the continued safety of the traveling public," DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said. (ANI)

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