It is reassuring that Obama's speaking bluntly about organizational performance rather than riding roughshod over the constitution, but, as argued in an earlier piece ("Mind the Gap"), the idea that it's a simple problem of dot connecting is a basic misconception.
How do you hear "connect the dots"? One version is reminiscent of a detective show or Agatha Christie novel; the challenge is to assemble hints -- pieces of information that, alone, are not conclusive proof of anything -- in such a way that the "answer" emerges as a sort of logical necessity. The "logic" is in the mind of the beholder, but that's all.
The first requires us to have all the pieces on the table and be open to what they "tell us" when seen together. The challenge for intelligence agencies is to put the information from various sources onto the same table.
The second requires us to decide what to pay attention to and what to ignore (left), how to connect and not connect (middle), and what to add that's not there (right).
If we increase the degree of information sharing we fill up our field of view with more and more points and the dots get harder and harder to connect.
The president was furious about the failure of the system to see "the red flags" and intelligence agencies are reported to have said that the information they had was "vague but available." The problem is that flags are not, in general, a priori red. Presumably, some smart people are thinking about how systems see and things like that; hopefully, they don't just think of it as "connect the dots."
We observe with some irony that the actual policy response to the problem -- at least the response that's been announced -- is in fact to gather more information via increased screening.
Oh, and if we look up "connect the dots" in Wikipedia you get a short article about a children's game. It bears a Wiki-warning: "This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards."