US President Barack Obama did not pay full attention to the war on terror in his first year in office as he was "distracted" by domestic issues like health care and climate change, officials associated with the 9/11 commission have said, describing the botched Christmas Day bombing as "a wake-up call".
"In a way, this Christmas Day bomber (who tried to blow up a US airliner leading to stepped up security across the US) did us a favour. I think we were not paying close attention to this area, and it's understandable," Thomas Kean, ex-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, said in his appearance before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
"We were talking about health care, cap-and-trade, certainly the economy... We got distracted a bit, I think. Everybody from the President on down got distracted, and we weren't paying full attention to this area," he said.
So these things were allowed to develop and cracks allowed to form and "things got a little off track," Kean said at the Congressional hearing on 'Intelligence Reform: The lessons and implications of the Christmas Day attack.'
Kean termed the botched attempt by Nigerian bomber Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab to blow up a US plane on December 25 as a wake-up call for the Obama Administration. "I assume that the actions are going to follow the statements and that he (Obama) is going to pay now strict attention to this problem."
Lee Hamilton, Vice Chairman of the Commission, criticised Obama for not putting more emphasis on fighting terror attacks.