- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2009

In his first public remarks since an apparent jihadist attempt to explode a plane on Christmas Day, President Obama said Monday that security has been enhanced for flights and he has ordered a review to determine how the suspect was able to get on a plane bound for the United States in the first place.

“We do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt, but those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know that the United States will do more than simply strengthen our defenses,” said Mr. Obama, who is spending the holidays in Hawaii. “We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us.”

Not long before the president’s brief statement, which he read without taking questions, a Web site that monitors terrorists reported that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had claimed responsibility in online jihadist forums for the plot.

“They boast that the ‘martyrdom-seeking mujahid’ broke all security barriers for his operation, dispelling the ‘great myth’ of American intelligence, and used explosives technology developed by the mujahideen in AQAPs ‘manufacturing department,’” the SITE Intelligence Group stated in a post on its Web page.

The terrorist group said the attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 was unsuccessful because of a “technical fault.”

Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, purportedly hid the explosive device in his underpants during a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

He allegedly attempted to detonate the device as the roughly 300-passenger flight made a final landing approach, but succeeded only in burning himself and causing a small fire. Mr. Abdulmutallab has been charged with willfully attempting to destroy the aircraft.

The president also applauded the “quick and heroic actions” of the crew and the passengers who subdued Mr. Abdulmutallab and extinguished the fire.

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