U.S. President Barack Obama is meeting with his senior counter-terrorism aide Monday to discuss the attempted Christmas Day (December 25) bombing of a U.S. jetliner.
Mr. Obama's meeting with John Brennan comes one day before
administration security officials gather at the White House to discuss
The president ordered an inter-agency review to determine how the
suspect, a 23-year-old Nigerian man with alleged ties to extremists,
was able to sneak explosives on the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight. The
explosives did not detonate, and passengers and crew quickly subdued
Mr. Obama described the incident as a "potential catastrophic breach of
security." In response, travelers from 14 countries are now facing
increased security screenings when flying into the United States.
The Transportation Security Administration said every person traveling
"from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other
countries of interest" will be subject to "enhanced screening."
The U.S. State Department lists Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria as state
sponsors of terrorism. Also subject to more stringent screening are
passengers from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen. The suspect says he trained
in Yemen with al-Qaida operatives.
A White House spokesman (Bill Burton) told reporters
Monday that because of the review, thousands of names were removed from
the terror watch list and "probably dozens" were moved to different
lists. The suspect in the Christmas Day attack, Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab, was on the terror watch list, but not the no-fly list
that would have prevented him from flying to the United States.
Extra screening measures may include body pat-downs, swabbing of
luggage to detect explosives, and body scans. TSA also ordered an
overall increase in the use of "enhanced screening technologies," along
with "threat-based" and random screening, for U.S.-bound airline