The Obama administration was sharply criticized after the Christmas Day jetliner incident. The suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian, had not been placed on a “no fly” list and still had a US visa – even though his father had told the US Embassy in Nigeria that his son embraced extremist ideology and was possibly training with groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The incident, President Obama said in a speech shortly afterward, “was not the fault of a single individual or organization, but rather a systemic failure across organizations and agencies.” He ordered a review of criteria used to compile the no-fly list and an overhaul of how agencies and embassies prioritize potential threats.
“Rather than a failure to collect or share intelligence, this was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had,” Mr. Obama said.
In January, the administration instituted new security procedures for international flights. Passengers carrying passports from, or traveling from or through a dozen designated countries, were forced to undergo full-body pat-downs and extra baggage checks. Those countries, many of them predominantly Muslim, were widely reported to be: Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.