The Obama administration claim that "the system worked" after a failed aircraft bombing wasn't quite as jolting as President George W. Bush's "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job" while New Orleans sank under deadly Hurricane Katrina. But both raised disturbing questions about presidential response in a time of crisis.
Bush's praise for his beleaguered FEMA director, Michael Brown, came while storm evacuees remained trapped in the Louisiana Superdome and victims' bloated bodies floated in the streets. It became a clarion call for all his administration did wrong during the 2005 calamity — and a larger symbol of all that people disliked generally about Bush.
Suddenly, four days after an aborted terror attack aboard an American airliner, President Barack Obama wants answers on why information wasn't put together by the U.S. intelligence community to prevent the terrorist from even getting on the plane.
After first claiming the system "had worked," Obama appears to finally have realized that the system failed and action must be taken correct the problems that -- once again -- allowed a bomber to put Americans in danger.
The father of Umar Farouk Adbulmatallab did everything short of delivering his son in shackles to the American Embassy but U.S. agencies did not share information with each other or connect the dots on a real threat.
The State Department says counterterrorism agencies were warned that the Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up an airliner Christmas Day may be under extremists' influence.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly says it was up to the National Counterterrorism Center to coordinate the interagency effort that would have blocked 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from entering the U.S. He says U.S. counterterror agencies received the information on Nov. 20, a day after it was provided by the father, but it was not enough to revoke the visa.
Kelly says officials get thousands of negative messages about people that are not always accurate.
He says Abdulmutallab got the two-year tourist visa in 2008 because he had money, was attending a reputable school and had visited the U.S. before.
President Barack Obama has ordered a review of how U.S. intelligence organizations keep the skies safe — or don't, as demonstrated by a failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam.
Obama has not yet tapped someone to head the multi-agency probe, but White House officials acknowledge the recent incident involving a 23-year-old Nigerian with alleged ties to terrorists has made clear there are plenty of failed areas to examine. The suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was on one advisory list, but never caught the attention of U.S. counter terrorist screeners despite his father's warnings to U.S. Embassy officials in Nigeria last month.
Democrats and Republicans talk a lot about bipartisanship, about "reaching across the aisle" to build coalitions for legislation that puts the country's needs above political agendas but, in the end, is mostly talk.
Neither side has any real interest in bipartisanship because working with the other side does not fit the political agendas of either party.
Democrat Steny Hoyer admitted recently he intentionally voted against a Bush administration proposal during the previous administration not because it was the right thing to do but because it would help put Democrats back in power.
Now Democrats are back in power and Republicans pull the same stunts in the hope that their efforts to undermine bipartisanship will restore the party of the elephant to the top jobs in Congress.
It's an old game that puts politics first and the country second.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the aviation security system failed when a young man on a watch list with a U.S. visa in his pocket and a powerful explosive hidden on his body was allowed to board a fight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
A day after saying the system worked, Napolitano said her words had been taken out of context. She said Monday on NBC's "Today" show that "our system did not work in this instance."
Napolitano said an investigation ordered by the Obama administration will look at why Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was allowed to board a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas Day despite being on a terrorist watch list.
Insurers constantly caution seniors that their Medicare Advantage perks such as hearing aids, dental payments and even gym memberships will fizzle if Democrats get their way and cut government subsidies for them.
But tens of billions of Medicare dollars funneled through insurers also pay for extras that never reach beneficiaries: multimillion-dollar salaries, executive retreats in Hawaii, Scotland and Cancun, and massive expenditures on marketing to lure more customers to the privately administered Advantage plans that serve as an alternative to government-provided Medicare.
The government-subsidized benefits that seniors on Advantage plans receive — often at premiums lower than Medicare premiums — are real, and are legitimately in danger in some cases if Democrats succeed in their health care overhaul.
The U.S. government tightened airline security as it searches for answers to how a 23-year-old Nigerian man eluded extensive systems intended to prevent attacks like his botched Christmas Day effort to blow up a Northwest flight from overseas.
The suspect who claimed ties to al-Qaida was charged Saturday with trying to destroy a Detroit-bound airliner, just a month after his father warned U.S. officials of concerns about his son's religious beliefs.
U.S. government officials tell The Associated Press that the Nigerian man charged with trying to destroy a jetliner came to the attention of U.S. intelligence in November when his father went to the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, to express his concerns about his son.
A congressional official said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian, popped up in U.S. intelligence reports about four weeks ago as having a connection to both al-Qaida and Yemen.
Another government official said Abdulmutallab's father went to the embassy in Abuja with his concerns, but did not have any specific information that would put him on the "no-fly list" or on the list for additional security checks at the airport.
An attempted terrorist attack on a Christmas Day flight began with a pop and a puff of smoke — sending passengers scrambling to subdue a Nigerian man who claimed to be acting on orders from al-Qaida to blow up the airliner, officials and travelers said.
The commotion began as Northwest Airlines Flight 253, carrying 278 passengers and 11 crew members from Amsterdam, prepared to land in Detroit just before noon Friday. Travelers said they smelled smoke, saw a glow, and heard what sounded like firecrackers. At least one person climbed over others and jumped on the man, who officials say was trying to ignite an explosive device.
"It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase," said Peter Smith, a passenger from the Netherlands. "First there was a pop, and then (there) was smoke."