Why Did US Let Abdulmutallab Get on a Plane to Detroit?

By Sappenfield, Mark | The Christian Science Monitor, December 27, 2009 | Go to article overview

Why Did US Let Abdulmutallab Get on a Plane to Detroit?


Sappenfield, Mark, The Christian Science Monitor


The father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab says he told US officials months ago that his son might be a terrorist threat. Some lawmakers say the Obama administration missed the warning signs - just as it did before the Fort Hood attack.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano insisted Sunday that

there was no "specific and credible" information to put the

alleged attempted bomber of Northwest Flight 253, Umar Farouk

Abdulmutallab, on the federal "no fly" list.

Yet for the second time in a month, the Obama administration finds

itself defending its lack of action against a suspect whose

tendencies toward radical Islam had been reported to authorities.

The cases are, of course, different.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is the only suspect in the attack that

killed 13 people at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, was an American being

tracked for corresponding with a known Al Qaeda sympathizer.

Colleagues had also raised questions about his increasingly militant

beliefs.

Mr. Abdulmutallab, by contrast, came to the attention of authorities

only when his father went to the US Embassy in Nigeria and warned

officials about his son's growing radicalization. On Friday,

Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted - and failed - to set off a

homemade explosive as Flight 253 neared the Detroit airport.

What US knew about AbdulmutallabA single warning from a father is

not enough to put someone on the federal no-fly list, Secretary

Napolitano said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday. "He

[Abdulmutallab] was on a general list, which [includes] over half a

million people.... But there was not the kind of credible

information, in the sense derogatory information, that would move him

up the list. …

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