Napolitano Backtracks, Says System Failed
Homeland Security chief changes stance; visa oversight probed
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2009 2:22 PM CST
US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks at the 31st International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Madrid, on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009.   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
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(Newser) – Facing a storm of criticism for saying "the system worked" in the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253, Janet Napolitano reversed course today. "Our system did not work in this instance," the Homeland Security secretary said. She added, "No one is happy or satisfied with that," and said the department was reviewing the oversights that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board the Detroit-bound flight out of Amsterdam.

Homeland Security is still trying to figure out why it failed to connect the dots in Abdulmutallab's case, the Los Angeles Times reports. His father alerted authorities at the American embassy in Nigeria to his concerns about his radicalized son, but nothing in the system flagged the fact that the son already had an American visa, the BBC reports. Being on a watch list does not necessarily prevent travelers from entering the US.