Christmas incident was "screw up" - Obama said

WASHINGTON Tue Jan 5, 2010 5:59pm EST

WASHINGTON Jan 5 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama told his security chiefs on Tuesday that the botched Christmas Day plane bombing was the result of a screw up by U.S. intelligence and that the country had barely dodged disaster, according to a quotation released by the White House.

"This was a screw up that could have been disastrous," the president said during a meeting in the White House situation room, according to the White House media office. "We dodged a bullet but just barely. It was averted by brave individuals not because the system worked and that is not acceptable. While there will be a tendency for finger pointing, I will not tolerate it."

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, editing by Bill Trott)