- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 10, 2010


Government officials whose failures let a would-be bomber board a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas should be punished, two senators said Sunday, taking issue with President Obama’s suggestion that no one would lose his job.

Neither Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman nor Sen. John McCain called specifically for someone to be fired, and they did not name who should be disciplined.

But Mr. Lieberman, Connecticut independent, pointed to breakdowns at the State Department and the National Counterterrorism Center, where he said people failed to act to identify the suspected bomber as a threat and revoke his visa.

“At the National Counterterrorism Center, something went wrong,” Mr. Lieberman said. “So if human errors were made, I think some of the humans who made those errors have to be disciplined so that they never happen again.”

Mr. Lieberman said individuals must be held accountable for making it possible for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 to Detroit from Amsterdam. Witnesses said the 23-year-old man ignited an explosive mixture, but it failed to do serious damage to the plane or the passengers.

U.S. officials received fragments of information as early as October about an alleged terror recruit they later learned was Mr. Abdulmutallab.

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, said Mr. Abdulmutallab should have been treated like an enemy combatant and not be tried in a civilian court.

The lawmakers appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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