HONOLULU (AP) -- An al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently ordered the Christmas Day plot against a U.S. airliner, training and arming the 23-year-old Nigerian man accused in the failed bombing, President Barack Obama said Saturday.
"This is not the first time this group has targeted us," Obama said, reporting on some of the findings of an administration review into how intelligence agencies failed to prevent Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding Detroit-bound Northwest Flight 253.
In his most direct public language to date, Obama described the path through Yemen of Abdulmutallab. He also emphasized that the United States would continue its partnerships with friendly countries - citing Yemen, in particular - to fight terrorists and extremist groups.
Obama's homeland security team has been piecing together just how Abdulmutallab was able to get on the plane. Officials have described flaws in the system and by those executing the strategy and have delivered a preliminary assessment.
Officials have said Abdulmutallab's father warned the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria that his son had drifted into extremism in the al-Qaida hotbed of Yemen. Abdulmutallab's threat was only partially digested by the U.S. security apparatus and not linked with a visa history showing the young man could fly to the United States.
Obama has ordered a thorough look at the shortcomings that permitted the plot, which failed not because of U.S. actions but because the would-be attacker was unable to ignite an explosive device.
Intelligence officials prepared for what was shaping up to be uncomfortable hearings before Congress about miscommunication among anti-terror agencies and sweeping changes expected under Obama's watch.
The United States provided Yemen $67 million in training and support under the Pentagon's counterterrorism program last year. Only Pakistan got more, with some $112 million.
At the same time, administration officials warned this week that Obama also would hold accountable his own government. To that end, Obama has summoned homeland security officials from across the government to meet with him in the White House Situation Room on Tuesday.
Obama was expected to run the meeting and press his team on how they missed what appears to be clear connections.
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