The Obama administration has repeatedly said the failure to connect intelligence reports that might have prevented the Christmas Day bombing attempt was not because spy agencies failed to share information.
Instead, John Brennan, assistant to the president for counterterrorism and homeland security, said top intel officials simply didn't understand all the intelligence pointing to a possible terrorist attack, which came true when a Nigerian national tried to blow up a U.S. airliner with a bomb in his underwear.
• AP INTERACTIVE: Key events leading up to the attempted attack on a Detroit-bound flight
"As the president has said, this was not a failure to collect or share intelligence. It was a failure to connect and integrate and understand the intelligence we had. We didn't follow up and prioritize the stream of intelligence indicating that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula sought to strike our homeland because no one intelligence entity or team or task force was assigned responsibility for doing that follow-up investigation," Mr. Brennan said.
Intelligence intercepts captured a steady stream of chatter before the bombing attempt, including one that said a Nigerian with connections to al Qaeda was planning an attack. Other major red flags -- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab bought his ticket to Detroit with cash and was traveling with no luggage -- were also missed.
"The intelligence fell through the cracks. This happened in more than one organization," Mr. Brennan said.
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