US President Barack Obama said Thursday he accepts responsibility for failures to uncover the Christmas Day plot to blow up a US airliner, promising to strengthen cooperation within the intelligence community and improve airport security screening, dpa reported.
Obama said the United States would do "whatever it takes" to defeat the terrorist group al-Qaeda, but said the United States must remain true to its values as it guards against threats to the country.
"We will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans," Obama said in a speech at the White House.
His remarks came as the White House released an initial inquiry into intelligence failures that prevented the US from stopping the suspect, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, from boarding a flight on December 25 in Amsterdam and trying to ignite an explosive as the airliner neared its scheduled landing in Detroit.
The reviews show how the intelligence community "failed to connect the dots in a way that would have prevented a known terrorist from boarding a plane for America, and the steps we're going to take to prevent that from happening again," Obama said.
Obama did not call for any resignations as a result of the failed plot, saying the failures were "systemic" and not the result of any "single individual."
"Ultimately, the buck stops with me," he said. "As president, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people, and when the system fails, it is my responsibility."