America’s top intelligence official on thursday said security agencies succumbed to pressure of reducing the no fly list that eventually led to the botched Chirstmas Day attack on a US plane and assured the lawmakers no such mistakes will be repeated in future.
"Shame on us for giving into that pressure," Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, said during his appearance before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
"It is because of this pressure, the no-fly list had been greatly reduced," Blair said referring to the concerns of the democratic rights group that protested the no fly list.
If the al-Qaeda terror suspect, Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab, been put in the no fly list after his father informed the US Embassy in Nigeria about his son’s radical views, he would not have been able to fly into a US plane.
"We have now greatly expanded the no-fly list from what it was on December 24 and have done a lot more of what is prudent is put names on it just in case and then take them off as we don't need you," he said.
"But the pressure was quite the other direction, and as I say, I should not have given into that pressure but it was a factor in we've certainly changed that attitude and have to maintain that over a course not just of 6 years, but of 12
years and until this campaign finally ends," Blair said.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman thanked Blair for acknowledging the error and making efforts to correct it.