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January 6th, 2010
11:24 AM ET
January 6th, 2010
10:49 AM ET

Washington overreacting to air scare

Fareed Zakaria | BIO
CNN Anchor, “Fareed Zakaria – GPS”

In the wake of the failed Christmas Day airplane bombing, President Obama ordered speedy reviews of how the air security system failed and the Transportation Security Administration began enhanced screening for passengers traveling through 14 nations.

Finding the flaws in the system is needed, foreign affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria told CNN, but he said much of the response from politicians in Washington amounts to an overreaction.

"We have to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security, that there are inevitably going to be lapses," Zakaria said. "Those lapses must be fixed, this is not an excuse for anything, but we must also be careful not to fulfill the exact intent of the terrorists by going berserk as a consequence.

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Filed under: Fareed Zakaria • Terrorism
January 6th, 2010
10:42 AM ET

London breeding Islamic terrorists?

Robert Leiken
Special to CNN

In assessing blame for the Christmas Day terror scare, we point fingers at Yemen, at the Amsterdam airport, even at corruption in African airports. But no one mentions where the would-be suicide bomber was radicalized: London, the capital of the ally we take for granted.

Last weekend, British security agency MI5 revealed that Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab had "multiple communications" with Islamic extremists in London, that the Nigerian reached out from London to a worldwide network of jihadi contacts and that he was "on the periphery of a past incident."

Why was this 3-year-old information apparently not shared with U.S. authorities until more than a week after the near-fatal flight?

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Filed under: Islam • Terrorism
January 6th, 2010
10:39 AM ET

U.S. lowers threshold for watch lists

CNN has learned the U.S. government has loosened the criteria that it takes to be put on a no-fly list.

CNN has learned the U.S. government has loosened the criteria that it takes to be put on a no-fly list.

Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer

The U.S. government has lowered the threshold for information deemed important enough to put suspicious individuals on a watch list or no-fly list, or have their visa revoked, senior State Department officials tell CNN.

The government overhauled criteria it uses for putting possible terrorists on such lists as a result of the failed Christmas Day attack, officials said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the material

Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian who allegedly launched the failed attack, was not put on a no-fly list. That's because the information his father provided a U.S. embassy about his son becoming radicalized and possibly going to Yemen did not meet then-applicable standards to put him on such a list or to cancel his visa.

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Filed under: Airline Safety • Elise Labott
January 6th, 2010
10:21 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Can international airports step up to the plate?

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

The President was briefed on the security reviews yesterday in the Situation Room and promised to make the review public in the coming days. Yesterday, he called the failed Christmas Day attack a “screw-up that could have been disastrous.” Does this mean that heads will roll? Will we expect to see a shake up among security officials?

We’re digging deeper on airport security tonight. The TSA put new rules into effect earlier this week and the president weighed in with his own measures, but does the United States have the cooperation of international airports? Remember, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab – who allegedly concealed bomb-making ingredients in his underwear – was on a flight that departed from Amsterdam. Are international airports onboard and prepared to step up security measures? In many cases, the answer is a resounding ‘No!’ Tom Foreman is Keeping Them Honest.

What does this failed bombing attempt tell us about al Qaeda's strength today? How has it evolved since 9/11 and who is now a part of the group? Can we anticipate the changes to the group and are we ready to prevent future attacks?

FULL POST


Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
January 6th, 2010
08:50 AM ET

Dear President Obama #352: Walk the walk

Reporter's Note: President Obama is not very happy about how things played out with that attempted airplane bomber on Christmas. Hopefully he’ll be more pleased with my daily letter to the White House…but I’m not betting on it.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I was listening to the radio this morning and the news guy read the introduction to a story about the economy, or terrorism, or pig races or something like that, and then instead of playing the pre-recorded report, he accidentally played a clip of some wild bluegrass music. “Papaaaa…I’ve got a sack full of beeeaaaans, but my husband’s gone to New Orleeeeaaannnns…”

Here’s the weird thing, though: It totally worked for me. It made perfect sense. I’ve grown so numb to the relentless, mind-numbing, pounding surf of same-old/same-old news and politics, that I suppose he could have simply signed off the air and I wouldn’t have noticed.

As a result, I think you are going to have to fire someone.

FULL POST

January 6th, 2010
06:34 AM ET
January 6th, 2010
06:05 AM ET

Sound Off: Your comments 1/5/10

Editor's Note: After last night's AC360°, we received comments about President Obama's press conference. We also got a lot of positive feedback about Anderson's interview with Dean Kamen, though many wish it had been the interview had been longer. (NOTE: The full interview is posted online).

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Anderson watch your show almost every night. Also enjoy you on Regis. Different Anderson but fun. Anyway, what I wanted to express is the exaggeration of this story on the "almost bombing" on the plane. Why is everyone blaming Obama? Mistakes were made but mistakes were made during 9/11 and lives were lost. We actually taught the terrorist how to fly here in America at one of our air training schools and no background checks were made. Just three nonAmericans paying cash for flying lessons and no one checked. No blame was put on Bush and rightfully so....we have enemies and they are always there but to blame Obama is wrong.

Great interview with Dean Kamen ... I wish there was more time! There is so much to talk about! It's great to see the result of the Beat during the show! It's stimulant and exciting for bloggers! Please continue to do so and thank you!!

Please tell me that Kathy Griffin isn't banned from CNN. Kathy and Anderson (Kandy) were the best way to start the New Year. They were comedy gold.


Filed under: Behind The Scenes
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