We have breaking news on the security failure at Newark Liberty International Airport over the weekend. It's new evidence the system set up to keep us all safe when we fly simply does not work. Plus, Pres. Obama blasts the intelligence community for failures linked the attempted Christmas Day bombing on a U.S. airliner.
Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ
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Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Stephen Flynn about keeping America safe. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
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President, Center for National Policy
For The Washington Post
With President Obama declaring a "systemic failure" of our security system in the wake of the attempted Christmas bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner, familiar arguments about what can and should be done to reduce America's vulnerabilities are again filling the airwaves, editorial pages and blogosphere. Several of these arguments are based on assumptions that guided the U.S. response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks - and unfortunately, they are as unfounded now as they were then. The biggest whopper of all? The paternalistic assertion that the government can keep us all safe without our help.
1. Terrorism is the gravest threat facing the American people.
Americans are at far greater risk of being killed in accidents or by viruses than by acts of terrorism. In 2008, more than 37,300 Americans perished on the nation's highways, according to government data. Even before H1N1, a similar number of people died each year from the seasonal flu. Terrorism is a real and potentially consequential danger. But the greatest threat isn't posed by the direct harm terrorists could inflict; it comes from what we do to ourselves when we are spooked. It is how we react - or more precisely, how we overreact - to the threat of terrorism that makes it an appealing tool for our adversaries. By grounding commercial aviation and effectively closing our borders after the 2001 attacks, Washington accomplished something no foreign state could have hoped to achieve: a blockade on the economy of the world's sole superpower. While we cannot expect to be completely successful at intercepting terrorist attacks, we must get a better handle on how we respond when they happen.
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President Obama told his Cabinet and national security team today that the failed Christmas Day bombing aboard a U.S. jetliner shows "the system has failed."
"The bottom line is this: The U.S. government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack, but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots, which would have placed the suspect on the no-fly list," the president told the press gathered at the White House after today's meeting.
"In other words, this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had. The information was there, agencies and analysts who needed it had access to it, and our professionals were trained to look for it and to bring it all together."
"That's not acceptable, and I will not tolerate it," he added.
So, who's responsible for the intelligence failures? Tonight on 360°, we're looking at where the system failed and naming names.
There's another troubling reality for the White House. It revealed yesterday that there was a third crasher at the State Dinner last year. We've discovered that title goes to Carlos Allen, a DC party prompter. Allen got in by mingling with the delegation of the Indian Prime Minister.
Sally Quinn of the Washington Post wrote an article about it in today's Washington Post. She says it's time for accountability at the White House.
"One of the first lessons any administration need to learn is that somebody has to take the hit for whatever goes wrong. If another culprit is not identified , the president gets the blame. One incident after another in the past few months has shown that members of this administration would rather lay low and let Barack Obama be the target. This has to stop, " Quinn wrote.
Do you agree? Share your thoughts below.
Anderson will talk with Sally Quinn tonight and CNN National Security Contributor Fran Townsend, former national security adviser to Pres. George W. Bush.
Tonight we also kick off a special series we're calling "What's Next." With the new year upon us we're getting out our crystal ball and talking with some of the leaders in science, technology, health and the arts to see what they think will be the things to look for in the coming decade.
We'll talk with Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway scooter. Get ready for some fun, our floor crew will be riding around in Segways. Let's hope no one gets hurt.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN. See you then!
Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear Dean Kamen's predictions for the next decade. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
"To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
Inventor, entrepreneur and founder
Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur, and advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).
FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Kim Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian attend a game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Beat 360° Winners:
"OMG! Jack Gray is following us on Twitter!!!"
"Purses on our laps: $4,000
Diamond Rings on our fingers: $85,000
Being famous and rich without doing anything: Priceless."
Program Note: Tune in tonight to for our series on upcoming advances and innovations we may see in the next decade. Tonight Anderson speaks to Dean Kamen, an inventor and expert in science and technology. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
DEKA Research and Development Corporation is a company focused on the development of new technologies that span a diverse set of applications. Its team is comprised of engineering, design, manufacturing and quality professionals dedicated to creating innovative solutions and advanced technologies.
DEKA founder, Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur and advocate for science and technology. His roles as inventor and advocate are intertwined and he holds more than 440 U.S. and foreign patents, many of them for innovative medical devices that have expanded the frontiers of health care worldwide. Don't miss his discussion with Anderson tonight.
The iBOT gives disabled persons the ability to navigate any terrain and approach life with a new sense of dignity.
DEKA's work revolves around core technologies and most of its projects can be classified under four main categories: 1) fluid management, 2) mobility. 3) power and 4) water.
The Pakistan military claims children are taught that images such as this of rivers of milk and honey, virgins and other heavenly delights await them.
"When we got to this compound it was shocking for us," Lt. Col. Yusuf tells us, standing in the middle of what the Pakistani military says was a brainwashing center - for children.
It was here, according to the Pakistani military, that children aged 12 to 18 were turned from innocent youngsters into cold-blooded killers, willing to blow themselves to bits as suicide bombers.
The discovery of the compound was first reported in Pakistani media last month. Yusuf says his unit took it over after a three day battle with militants.
Part of the compound consists of four rooms - each wall adorned with brightly colored paintings in clear contrast to the barren and harsh landscape surrounding it. The children were told that this was what awaited them in heaven.
Each of the images has a river flowing through it. Some have people playing in the water. Others have women lining the banks.
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Tanya M. Acker
During a recent panel discussion about trials for terror suspects I pointed out that the American criminal justice system has managed the prosecution of terrorists before – Ramzi Yousef, Timothy McVeigh, Richard Reid, to name a few – and that I thought our Constitution is up to the challenge (notwithstanding all of those dastardly rights it often affords the accused).
My counterpart on the right responded: “I don’t think a majority of the American public give a fig about the rights of a radical Islamic extremist.” When I maintained that I thought they “cared about the Constitution,” my counterpart suggested that they instead “care[d] about their lives and their family’s lives.”
Now this is a very curious assessment of the situation. One the one hand, we have terrorists and our allegedly terrorist-protecting Constitution. On the other, we have our family, friends and all that we hold dear. Since the terrorists obviously must lose and since most of us have only two hands, there is obviously no way to win this fight without dispensing with the protections afforded by that weak-kneed, pansy document conceived and drafted by our Founding Fathers.
Call me Jack Bauer-bashing naïve, but I have this thing about false choices. I don’t like making them and I don’t think the rest of us should either.
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It seems to me that while acres of forest have been sacrificed to detailing the Undiebomber follies, the other terrorist attack during Christmas week–the suicide bomber who took out much of a CIA station at Forward Operating Base Chapman on the Af/Pak border–was a far more significant event. Turns out he was a double agent, operating under Jordanian "control."
This is obviously the stuff of spy novels–and there will be consequences (as the official CIA statement had it, the deaths "will be avenged"). In checking with my intelligence sources, I've learned that this was an operation that goes against the prevailing wisdom–that Al Qaeda has largely become a network of local franchises. This was most likely the work of the AQ central command and a complicated operation at that, involving the building of trust, the divulging of "secrets" that must have had some intelligence value or else the bomber would never have found his way into a CIA operations center without so much as a pat-down. If that proves out, it will have been the first successful operation run by the AQ central command–the Osama bin Laden headquarters–in quite some time.