From the Wall Street Journal:
A passenger on a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight tried Friday to detonate an explosive device strapped to his leg and later told investigators he had affiliations with al Qaeda and was trying to blow up the plane, according to a senior U.S. official.
“We believe this was an attempted act of terrorism,” said a White House official.
The suspect told investigators he was given the device by al Qaeda operatives in Yemen, along with detonation instructions, the official said. “This guy claims he is tied to al Qaeda, specifically in Yemen,” the official said. “He claims he was on orders from al Qaeda in Yemen. Who knows if that’s true?”
Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) identified the man as a 23-year-old Nigerian named Abdul Mudallad. Officials said they believed the man boarded a KLM flight in Lagos, Nigeria, and changed planes in Amsterdam, although that couldn’t immediately be confirmed. The suspect’s name didn’t appear on any terrorist watch lists maintained by U.S. authorities, Mr. King said, but it turned up “hot” in other terrorism-related databases maintained by intelligence officials.
On Saturday morning, Britain’s Metropolitan Police Service was searching a “number” of properties in central London that may be related to the attempted bombing, according to a spokeswoman. “We are liasing with U.S. authorities and are conducting enquiries in conjunction with them,” she said, declining to give further details.
First how did he get the device on to the plane? I know the Transportation Security Administration has warned about Nigeria’s porous airport security in the past, so one would assume the suspect would have gone through some sort of additional screening in Amsterdam?
Second let’s resist the urge to somehow try and blame this on Pres. Obama and/or his administrations policies. The simple truth is there going to be another terrorist attack in this country; it’s inevitable. The bad guys only have to get lucky once, to stop them we have to be good every single day.
Update (11:25 a.m.): Via Hot Air, a Nigerian newspaper is reporting that the suspected bomber’s father reported him to authorities after his son’s jihadist rhetoric started to worry him:
The older Mutallab, as at the time of filing this report, had just left his Katsina hometown for Abuja to speak with security agencies, family sources say. According to the family members, Mutallab has been uncomfortable with the boy’s extreme religious views and had six months ago reported his activities to United States’ Embassy, Abuja and Nigerian security agencies.
The older Mutallab was said to be devastated on hearing the news of Abdul Farouk’s attempted bombing and arrest. A source close to him said he was surprised that after his reports to the US authorities, the young man was allowed to travel to the United States.
At the secondary school, he was known for preaching about Islam to his school mates and he was popularly called “Alfa”, a local coinage for Islamic scholar. After his secondary school, the suspect went to University College London to study engineering and later relocated to Egypt, and then Dubai. While in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, he declared to his family members that he did not want to have anything to do with any of them again.
Update (1:05 p.m.): Fox News is reporting that U.S. officials have known for two years that Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the suspect in the attempted Northwest Airlines bombing could have terrorist ties:
An official briefed on the foiled attack on a Detroit airliner says the U.S. has known for at least two years that the suspect could have terrorist ties.
The official tells The Associated Press that the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, has been on a list that includes people with known or suspected contact or ties to a terrorist or terrorist organization.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Multiple law enforcement officials identified Mutallab as a Nigerian national who was reportedly an engineering student at London’s University College.
Update (4:50 p.m.): Reuters reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national, has been charged with attempting to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253. A preliminary analysis by the FBI shows that he tried to ignite pentaerythritol (PETN) which had been attached to his body.
- Nigerian arrested in failed plane attack claims links to al-Qaeda – Washington Post
- Failed plane attack thought to be terror act – Washington Times
- King: Airline bombing suspect had ‘significant terrorist connections’ – The Hill
- Detroit terror attack: Scotland Yard probes ‘British student airline bomber’ – Telegraph
- Passenger details fight to stop alleged terrorist – NYPOST.com