Washington: The head of national intelligence on Friday named a former CIA director to lead a probe into US intelligence failures exposed by an al Qaeda attack on an airliner and a shooting rampage at an Army base.
John McLaughlin, who was acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency briefly in 2004 after having served as deputy director, will "head a small group of national security experts who will look into recent challenges facing the intelligence community," National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said in a statement.
The team will examine the Christmas Day bombing attempt on Northwest Flight 253 bound for Detroit and the November 5 shootings at Fort Hood army base in Texas.
An Army psychiatrist, Major Nidal Hasan, has been charged with carrying out the Fort Hood shooting spree that killed 12 soldiers and one civilian.
Both alleged attackers were believed to be inspired by a radical US-born Islamic cleric now in Yemen. "The DNI has requested a careful examination of the sequence of events leading up to both incidents, as well as proposals to remedy potential weaknesses in intelligence systems and procedures that these incidents exposed," Blair's statement said.
McLaughlin was "especially well-qualified to lead an independent assessment in this area and provide candid, constructive guidance to improve our future performance," Blair said.
The announcement came a day after President Barack Obama ordered urgent action at security and intelligence agencies to fix flaws exposed by the December 25th attack that was narrowly averted.
Releasing two reports on the thwarted Christmas Day bombing, Obama said spy agencies did not properly "connect and understand" disparate data that could have busted the plot as it was planned by an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.
First Published: Sunday, January 10, 2010, 09:16