Airline Plot Raises Questions about U.S. Security

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WASHINGTON -- Last week's failed plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines jetliner in mid-flight is raising serious questions about flaws in America's security procedures put in place after 9/11.

Even as the Obama administration works to plug the holes, terrorists are steadily looking for ways to instill fear in American travelers.

Missing the Red Flags

U.S. intelligence officials had the information they needed to stop 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a U.S. bound plane on Christmas day. But according to President Barack Obama, they failed to connect the dots.

CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck appeared on CBN News' Morning program to talk more on this controversial issue. Click play for his analysis.

"Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence, and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged," Obama said in a brief statement to the media Tuesday.

He added, "The warning signs would have triggered red flags, and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America."

"There was a mix of human and systemic failures that contributed to this potential catastrophic breach of security," Obama concluded.

Now critics want to know why the terror watch list system allowed Abdulmatallab to keep his American tourist visa and board a plane with explosives taped to his underpants.

"At the airport we provide very little attention to the passenger himself," New Age Security Solutions CEO Rafi Rom said. "We focus almost all of our efforts to what he carries."

Plot Sparks Religious/Racial Profiling Debate

The incident is raising serious questions about the future of airport screenings. The debate over religious and racial profiling is also intensifying.

"One hundred percent of all the terrorist attacks against the United States last year were carried out by Muslim Jihadists. So, if that's the one common denominator, let's include that in the mix," said Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Some senators are questioning the way the Obama administration is handling the situation.

"The comment that there is no evidence of a wider conspiracy is just plain wrong," Sen. Jon Kyle, R-Ariz., insisted.

Memphis Jihad

Meanwhile, police in Memphis, Tenn. have charged 35-year-old Mohamed Ibrahim with commission of a terrorist act.

Ibrahim is scheduled to go to court in a few weeks for allegedly threatening to blow up several businesses in Memphis on Christmas Day.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.