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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Failed Detonator Saved Northwest Flight 253 From al-Qaeda Planned Terror Attack

ABC, as well as every other news organization, has been all over the failed terror attack on Northwest flight 253 by Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian student who was to carry off the Christmas suicide attack.

ABC reports that an al-Qeada top bomb maker was responsible for sewing in the bomb materials to Abdulmutallab's underwear.

Investigators say the suspect had more than 80 grams of PETN, a compound related to nitro-glycerin used by the military. The so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, had only about 50 grams kin his failed attempt in 2001 to blow up a U.S.-bound jet. Yesterday's bomb failed because the detonator may have been too small or was not in "proper contact" with the explosive material, investigators told ABC News.

According to Abdulmutallab, he contacted a radical imam in Yemen who put him in touch with al-Qaeda leaders.

The suspect in the Northwest Airlines attack told FBI agents he lived with the al Qaeda leader in Yemen for about a month and was not allowed to leave as he was trained in what to do and how to do it, authorities said.

At some point, according to the account, Abdulmutallab said he was joined by a Saudi citizen whom he described as an al Qaeda bomb maker.

The device intended to blow up the Northwest flight was made at the location in Yemen, according to Abdulmutallab, and consisted of a six-inch packet of powder and a syringe with a liquid. Both were sewn into the student's underwear so they would be near his testicles and unlikely to be detected, he told agents.

In another ABC report we find that the reason this attempt failed was because the detonator didn't work properly.

Furthermore, al-Qaeda is aware that our screening machines and security measures make us vulnerable to this type of attack.

The New York Times reports that new security measures will be implemented although the things they name would not have prevented the specific type of attack that Abdulmutallab attempted.

Times Online reports that Abdulmutallab was previously barred from returning to Britain and more worrisome, he was already on watchlist by the United States, for two years, because of his "extremist" connections.... yet he was allowed to travel, by plane, into America.

The incident led to increased security at UK airports and delays of up to five hours for passengers in Britain yesterday.For the past two years Abdulmutallab has been on a United States watchlist for people known to have extremist links, but he was not prevented from flying to America. UK officials indicated that he had passed across MI5’s radar but was not deemed sufficiently threatening to warrant surveillance.

CNN informs the public that the suspect's father had tried to warn authorities that his son was planning something.

The father -- identified by a family source as Umaru Abdul Mutallab -- contacted the U.S. Embassy "a few weeks ago" saying his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had "become radicalized," the senior administration official, who is familiar with the case, told CNN.

Abdulmutallab, 23, was charged in a federal criminal complaint Saturday with attempting to destroy the plane Friday on its final approach to Michigan's Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and placing a destructive device on the aircraft, the Department of Justice said.

A family source told CNN that Mutallab -- who recently retired as chairman of First Bank PLC, one of Nigeria's premier banks -- had contacted the embassy in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, and various other security agencies earlier than the timeline provided by the administration official. The family source said Mutallab went to those agencies about three months ago after receiving a text message from his son.

The source, who lives at the family home in Kaduna in northern Nigeria, said the son informed his family in the text message that he was leaving school in Dubai to move to Yemen. He implied that he was leaving "for the course of Islam."

Last but not least, meet Jasper Schuringa, a passenger who stepped up to the plate and helped take Abdulmutallab down.

You can read the criminal complaint against Abdulmutallab, here, PDF file.