A Nigerian man, 23-year-old Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to set off an incendiary or explosive device as a transatlantic flight from Amsterdam descended toward Detroit’s airport on Christmas Day. Passengers and crew subdued the man who tried to ignite the device strapped to his leg.
First reports were that fireworks had been involved. The TSA has firmly slammed the barn door after this horse bolted.
As the FBI is investigating the incident. Obama is celebrating Christmas in Hawaii at a $3,000 a day estate. Obama was informed about the incident a spokesman said, and he asked his aides to ensure that all measures are in place to provide security for air travel.
How Abdulmutallab, whose name is included in the government’s records of terrorism suspects, was allowed on the flight carrying an incendiary device is unclear. Reportedly he had travelled to Yemen to collect the incendiary device before boarding the commercial flight.
Abdulmutallab allegedly had taped some powdered material to his leg, then used a syringe to mix some liquid chemicals with the powder while on the airplane successfully setting himself afire.
The Christmas Day incident called to mind the bizarre case of “Shoebomber” Richard C. Reid, a British citizen who trained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and later attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his shoes on a flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001.
Reid was arrested in Boston, subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Although he had been perceived by some to be a petty criminal, he did have ties to al-Qaeda, according to interviews and evidence that emerged in the course of his prosecution.
This all follows two recent breaches of White House security.
The Northwest incident comes after a hectic six months in domestic terrorism cases, from the arrest of a Colorado shuttle bus driver, Najibullah Zazi, in an alleged plot to target New York with hydrogen-based chemical mixtures to smaller efforts by groups in Minnesota, Northern Virginia and North Carolina to allegedly translate radical beliefs into action on foreign soil.
The Obama administration says it proud of its efforts during its first year to thwart terrorist plots, most notably in the case of Zazi, a young Afghan immigrant and legal U.S. resident arrested in early fall on suspicion of amassing bombmaking skills after visiting an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan. As the threat of “homegrown” terrorists has appeared to rise in recent months, Obama has asked his top advisers to remain in a state of heightened vigilance.
Most say Obama’s claim is simply blind luck, and it is only a matter of time before his chaotic appeasement policies claims lives.
In 2003, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden posted a recording on the internet calling on Muslims in oil-rich Nigeria to rise up against one of the “regimes who are slaves of America”.
But links to al-Qaida remained rare, though security forces claimed to break up a linked terror cell in November 2007.
Security at Nigeria’s two major international airports in the capital, Abuja, and Lagos remain a point of concern. Uniformed police officers are often kept busy keeping hagglers and taxi drivers out of the airport. Bags quickly pass through x-ray scanners and those watching incoming passengers don’t usually conduct tests for explosive residue on passengers’ hand luggage or shoes.
At the gate, airline workers often check passengers again with handheld metal detectors. The man , an engineering student at University College of London changed from a KLM flight plane at Amsterdam but it is unclear if he underwent additional security checks if not it renders all U. S. based security impotent.
He passed through security in Ameterdam but obviously was not carefully screened even though his name is on internationally posted watch lists.
The suspect told authorities he had an extremist affiliation, and said he was directed by al-Qaeda. He said that the device was obtained in Yemen, along with instructions from al-Qaeda as to how to use it. Authorities have not yet confirmed his statements.
A counterterrorism official told The New York Times that his claim “may have been “aspirational” Officials with law-enforcement information access told him the suspect may have had contact with Anwar Al Awlaki; al-Awlaki is the former imam linked to al-Qaeda, three of the9/11 bombers, and Nidal Hasan, the suspected Fort Hood shooter, among others.
Pete Hoekstra, Senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee said: “The question we’ll have to raise is was this imam in Yemen influential enough to get some people to attack the US again.” Hoekstra said in an interview: “The suspicion is also that” the suspect “had contact with al-Awlaki. The belief is this is a stronger connection with al-Awlaki” than Hasan had.