Well, this isn’t good. According to an official White House review, the intelligence community failed to notice red flags about the underpants bomber. Why? The software that would have correlated intel and raised alarms was rendered ineffective by a one-letter misspelling of the would-be bomber’s name.
From the White House’s review of the government’s failures in the Flight 253 debacle:
Mr. Abdulmutallab possessed a U.S. visa, but this fact was not correlated with the concerns of Mr. Abdulmutallab’s father about Mr. Abdulmutallab’s potential radicalization. A misspelling of Mr. Abdulmutallab’s name initially resulted in the State Department believing he did not have a valid U.S. visa. A determination to revoke his visa however would have only occurred if there had been a successful integration of intelligence by the CT [counterterrorism] community, resulting in his being watchlisted.
According to Talking Points Memo, Abdulmutallab’s name was misspelled by just one letter.