Senators want accountability

2010-01-10 23:03

WAashington - Intelligence officials who failed to prevent the botched Christmas Day attack on a US-bound passenger jet must be held accountable and disciplined, two leading US lawmakers said on Sunday.

"Someone's got to be held responsible," Republican US Senator John McCain told CNN television's State of the Union programme, speaking from Jerusalem, during a swing through the Middle East.

Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent, concurred that someone in the administration must pay a price for the attack, which endangered the life of nearly 300 passengers.

"If human errors were made, I think the humans that made those errors have to be disciplined so that it never happens again," said Lieberman, who is chairman of the US Senate's Homeland Security Committee.

"I think some people have to be held accountable for the mistakes, the human errors that the president acknowledged that enabled the Nigerian bomber getting on the plane," Lieberman said.

Obama castigated the US intelligence agencies last week for the lapses but said he was not interested in singling out individuals for blame, calling it a systemic failure.

"I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer. For ultimately the buck stops with me," Obama said.

The senators made their remarks as Congress prepares to return to work after this week after its winter recess, with the failed terror attack that has been linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist group and efforts to boost airport security measures at the top of US lawmakers' agenda.