Prez Orders Air Security Review

Obama demands review of 'watch lists,' chemical detection
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 28, 2009 5:19 AM CST
President Barack Obama has demanded an investigation in the near bombing of a Northwest flight to Detroit.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Despite US officials' insistence that the airline security system works, President Obama is demanding an investigation into how a Nigerian managed to sneak the incendiary chemical PETN onto a transatlantic Northwest flight to Detroit. Suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was on a US security watch list and a dossier had been started on him last month, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told ABC News.

He was, however, placed on the "lowest priority" of three watch lists—one with more than 500,000 names on it—after Mutallab's father warned US officials about his son's extremist sympathies, according to Gibbs; it apparently wasn't enough info to elevate him to the second-tier "selectee" list, which has just 18,000 names. The "no-fly" list features a smaller group of 4,000 people who are not allowed to board planes. The president wants to examine "detection capabilities" and "did the government do everything it could have with the information it had?" Gibbs said.

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