Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.), chair and vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, respectively, announced Thursday that the committee will conduct hearings on the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack on Northwest Flight 253.
As part of the investigation, the committee will collect all intelligence related to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab held by various intelligence agencies in order to determine who had what, and how the information was handled. In addition, the committee will review national security policies on sharing information and terrorist watch-listing.
In a statement to the Pleasanton Weekly, Feinstein said she decided to conduct these hearings after consultation with Bond. The hearings are scheduled to begin on Jan. 21, but the committee's investigation will start before that time, she said.
"The Christmas Day incident revealed some serious failures in our nation's system of security," Feinstein said. "As the New Year dawns, it is my hope that we can pause to remember how this nation – both Republicans and Democrats – put aside political differences and worked together after the 9/11 attacks."
"Christmas Day was a stark reminder, and we must heed it by working together with the president to take whatever steps are necessary to close the gaps in our system of defense," she added. "The Intelligence Committee's investigation will be an important step in that process."
Added Bond: "Somebody screwed up big time. That plane would have gone down if the suicide bomber was more competent or the passengers and crew were less heroic. In our investigation we will be following the intelligence down the rabbit hole to see where the breakdown occurred and how to prevent this failure in the future."
The committee has received its first briefing on this matter and will hold additional briefings and hearings until the facts are known and the committee can consider recommendations to further improve the country's counterterrorism capabilities, Feinstein said.