Thompson Tells Obama of Dec. 25 National Security Failures

Posted January 11, 2010 at 6:09pm

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday outlining several aspects of national security infrastructure that need “immediate attention— in the wake of last month’s failed terrorist attack on a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.“I am extremely troubled by the system-wide failures surrounding the Dec. 25th terrorist attack,— says Thompson, who cites information sharing as “one of the most vexing national security challenges— that led to the breakdown in airport security measures.“This struggle predates your presidency but must be addressed if we are to, once and for all, cultivate an intelligence community that 1) views our boots on the ground … as valuable contributors to the intelligence community; and 2) finally moves away from a culture of ‘need to know’ to a culture of ‘need to share,’— he writes in his letter. Thompson also points to “a number of well-documented weaknesses— relating to the collection of names and the timely aggregation and periodic updates to terrorist watch lists. Another major concern, he said, is the lack of official avenues for testing and evaluating emerging security technology.The chairman adds that he would be “remiss— if he didn’t point out that the Christmas Day attack came at a time when there are vacancies at the head of Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis.“I look forward to working with you in the coming days to address these critical challenges,— Thompson concludes.