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Lawmakers push Obama on urgency of anti-terror efforts

Lawmakers pressured President Barack Obama to boost the urgency of anti-terrorism efforts as the Netherlands and Nigeria announced they will start using full-body scanners for passengers.

"Too many people have forgotten the horror of Sept. 11," Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said Wednesday. "We saw how close we were to disaster. We can use this, as the president says, as a teaching moment to go forward."

Obama will receive preliminary results Thursday from investigations into what he called the "systemic failure" that allowed Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to carry explosives onto a U.S. airliner in Amsterdam on Dec. 25. Abdulmutallab is charged with trying to blow up the plane as it prepared to land in Detroit.

Obama said Tuesday that U.S. intelligence agencies missed "red flags" that could have put Abdulmutallab, 23, on a watch list requiring extra screening at security checkpoints or banning him from flying altogether. Conventional metal detectors don't detect the explosives Abdulmutallab was carrying.

Democratic Rep. Eric Massa of upstate Corning, a Navy veteran, joined King in calling on Obama to show more urgency in anti-terrorism efforts.

"In the military, we used to call it a command direction," Massa said. "The commanding officer has to stand up and say, 'This is where we are going.' "

Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he will hold a hearing next month on the attempted attack.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wrote in USA Today that the Obama administration will "find and fix the vulnerabilities in our systems" that allowed last week's airline bomb attempt.

"Make no mistake: The Department of Homeland Security and agencies across the federal government are working quickly to address what went wrong on Christmas Day," Napolitano wrote in an op-ed column that appeared Wednesday.

Following Obama's orders, the department is reviewing watch-list and screening procedures to determine why the suspect "was cleared to board the flight in Amsterdam, and why overseas screening did not discover the explosives hidden on his body," she wrote.

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