U.S. President Barack Obama says it appears an al-Qaida affiliate in
Yemen trained and equipped the man who tried to blow up a U.S.-bound
passenger plane on Christmas Day (December 25).
In his weekly (radio and Internet) address Saturday, Mr.
Obama said the al-Qaida group in Yemen had attacked American targets
before, including killing an American at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen in
The president said the U.S. government is strengthening its partnership with Yemen "to strike al-Qaida terrorists."
Another U.S. official, Michael Leiter -- the director of the National
Counterterrorism Center -- said Saturday he knows with certainty that
al-Qaida continues to refine its methods to test U.S. defenses in order
to attack the United States.
President Obama has been criticized by opposition Republicans, who say
he has not taken strong enough action against militants and terrorists.
Mr. Obama said his administration's efforts to end the war in Iraq and
increase troop levels in Afghanistan are part of his strategy to
"disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida and its extremist allies."
Mr. Obama said he has received preliminary results of reviews he
ordered into air travel screening procedures and a terrorist watchlist
system, and expected final results in the coming days.
The president said he is working to ensure branches of security
agencies coordinate and are held accountable after the latest terrorist