Archive for Friday, December 25, 2009

Counterterrorism official says failed effort to blow up Northwest Airlines flight may have been terrorist attack

Explosive device failed to detonate

December 25, 2009, 6:00 p.m. Updated December 26, 2009, 2:33 a.m.


— A Nigerian man who said he was an agent for al-Qaida tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane Friday as it was preparing to land in Detroit, but travelers who smelled smoke and heard what sounded like firecrackers rushed to subdue him, the passengers and federal officials said.

Flight 253 with 278 passengers and 11 crew members aboard was about 20 minutes from the airport when passengers heard popping noises, witnesses said. At least one person climbed over others and jumped on the man. Shortly afterward, the suspect was taken to the front of the plane with his pants cut off and his legs burned, a passenger said. Law enforcement officials said the burns indicated the explosive was strapped to his legs.

One U.S. intelligence official said the explosive device was a mix of powder and liquid. It failed when the passenger tried to detonate it.

"It sounded like a firecracker in a pillowcase," said Peter Smith, a traveler from the Netherlands. "First there was a pop, and then (there) was smoke."

Smith said a passenger sitting opposite the man climbed over people, went across the aisle and tried to restrain the man. Syed Jafri, another passenger, said he saw a glow and smelled smoke. Then, he said, "a young man behind me jumped on him."

"Next thing you know, there was a lot of panic," said Jafri. Smith said the heroic passenger appeared to have been burned.

The White House said it believed it was an attempted act of terrorism and stricter security measures were quickly imposed on airline travel. It did not specify what those were.

The incident was reminiscent of Richard Reid, who tried to destroy a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001 with explosives hidden in his shoes, but was subdued by other passengers. Reid is serving a life sentence.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect in Friday's attempted attack as Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab. One law enforcement official said the man claimed to have been instructed by al-Qaida to detonate the plane over U.S. soil, but other law enforcement officials cautioned that such claims could not be verified immediately, and said the man may have been acting independently — inspired but not specifically trained or ordered by terror groups.

All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

Another law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the case, said Mutallab's name had surfaced earlier on at least one U.S. intelligence database, but not to the extent that he was placed on a watch list or a no-fly list.

The Mutallab was being questioned Friday evening. An intelligence official said the Nigerian passenger was being held and treated in an Ann Arbor, Mich., hospital. One passenger was taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, hospital spokeswoman Tracy Justice said. She referred all inquiries to the FBI.

The trauma burn center at the hospital said it did not have Abdul Mutallab in its unit.

Flight 253 began in Nigeria and went through Amsterdam en route to Detroit, said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the ranking GOP member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

A spokeswoman for police at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam declined comment about the case or about security procedures at the airport for Flight 253. Schiphol airport, one of Europe's busiest with a heavy load of transit passengers from Africa and Asia to North America, strictly enforces European security regulations including only allowing small amounts of liquid in hand luggage that must be placed inside clear plastic bags.

There was nothing out of the ordinary about the flight until it was on final approach to Detroit, said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. That is when the pilot declared an emergency, she said. The flight landed at 12:01 p.m. EST, she said.

Delta Air Lines Inc., which bought Northwest last year, said that "upon approach to Detroit, a passenger caused a disturbance." It said the passenger was subdued immediately and the crew asked that law enforcement officials meet the flight.

"The passenger was taken into custody and questioned by law enforcement authorities," the airline said.

According to the airline, eight flight attendants and three pilots were on board.

Smith said while he was leaving the plane, he looked at where the man had been sitting and saw a pillow that seemed to have been burned. Melinda Dennis, who was seated in the front row of the plane, said the man involved was brought to the front row and seated near her. She said his legs appeared to be badly burned and his pants were cut off. She said he was taken off the plane handcuffed to a stretcher.

President Barack Obama was notified of the incident and discussed it with security officials, the White House said. It said he is monitoring the situation and receiving regular updates from his vacation spot in Hawaii.

Federal officials said there would be heightened security for both domestic and international flights at airports across the country, but the intensified levels would likely be "layered," differing from location to location depending on alerts, security concerns and other factors.

Passengers can expect to see heightened screening, more bomb-sniffing dog and officer units and behavioral-detection specialists at some airports, but there will also be unspecified less visible precautions as well, officials said.

The FBI and the Homeland Security Department issued an intelligence note on Nov. 20 about the threat picture for the holiday season, which was obtained by The Associated Press. At the time, officials said they had no specific information about attack plans by al-Qaida or other terrorist groups.

In 2003, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden purportedly marked Nigeria for liberation in a recording posted on the Internet, calling on Muslims in the oil-rich country 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 such a linked terror cell in November 2007.

Security at Nigeria's two major international airports in the capital Abuja and in its megacity Lagos remain a point of concern. Uniformed federal police officers often focus their time on keeping hagglers and taxi drivers out. Bags quickly pass through X-ray scanners and those watching incoming passengers do not typically conduct tests for explosive residue on passengers' carry-on baggage nor shoes.

At the gate, airline workers often check passengers again with handheld metal detectors before they board their flight.

Delta, which is days away from obtaining a single operating certificate from the FAA to fully integrate itself and Northwest, has been hosting military personnel who have to travel over the holidays in a lounge at the Detroit airport.


Paula Kissinger 8 years, 5 months ago

And this jackass got on an airplane with these things how ??????

cavtrooper 8 years, 5 months ago

...Nigerian airport screening isn't quite up to our standards. And these guys aren't stupid. Evil and sociopathic adherents of a religion that worships death - yes. Stupid - no.

KS 8 years, 5 months ago

Two terrorism events within the last year. Make sure you read them their rights and give them a free lawyer, compliments of us. Good grief.

Tom McCune 8 years, 5 months ago

"An intelligence source said the Nigerian passenger was being held and treated in a Michigan hospital."

Let's hope that means the "device" severely burned him shortly before the other passengers beat the snot out of him.

Tom McCune 8 years, 5 months ago

Oh, great. I have to fly on Monday. Between the weather and the increased security from this, it'll take me forever... Let the record show that in the entire recorded history of commercial aviation, there has never been a case of an airplane being disrupted by a 55 year old, blond haired, fat, American citizen of German-Scottish ancestry.

hujiko 8 years, 5 months ago

Marion, you say that like there is a more viable option...

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

This occurred more than 24 hours ago, and we are just now hearing about it. We get 48 hours of minute by minute coverge of the balloon boy, but we don't hear about a terrorist attack until the Obama administration has cleared it? Have we completely lost our free media? One of the "interviewees" on Fox was introduced as a "Justice Department producer." What is that?

Ask yourself this: if you were to have flown sometime between 1PM yesterday and now, and you heard about this as you normally would have (real time), would that have caused you to change your plans?

It is apparent to me that the Obama administration once again is putting political considerations before public interest.

cavtrooper 8 years, 5 months ago

"viable option......" I have one. This fine, upstanding young Muslim wanna be terrorist was supposedly on a watch list. Watch list = no fly list. Contrary to liberal mantras - profiling works.

Bryan Wilcox 8 years, 5 months ago

Godot: This didn't occur "more than 24 hours ago," at least not from the timestamp on your post. It occured at 12:51 p.m. EST on Christmas day according to this posting and it was all over the news, originally as a "fireworks detonation," within an hour.

Mean_Green 8 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like "profiling" at the airports and the no-fly list (however shunned by the libs) seems to still be working. All of the airline terrorist so far have been fitting the same profile. It seems that the rest of the world needs to get on board when it comes to screening airline passengers. I bet the passenger who subdued Mr. 4th of July was an Air Marshal. They're on a lot of international flights.

gphawk89 8 years, 5 months ago

"May" have been a terrorist attack? A guy sets off a bomb on an airplane, admits to being an agent for al-Qaida, and it "may" have been a terrorist attack? What would it take for something to definitely be a terrorist attack?

Tom McCune 8 years, 5 months ago

Considering the nation's past history with the "shoe bomber", tomorrow morning the authorities will promulgate a new regulation based on the "pants bomber." Effectively immediately, all passengers will be required to remove their pants while passing through security. Colostomy bags and Depends will need to be X-rayed to assure your safety. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 5 months ago

...and now we will have to take off our pants too... at least if Obama lives up to what he has done so far... bleh

Mean_Green 8 years, 5 months ago

Please Marion, the libs have much more important issues to worry about rather than Homeland Security. Did you know the Earth's average temp is going to rise by .000000001 degrees in the next 100,000,000 years? WE MUST STOP GLOBAL WARMING!!! All cars need to get 100 mpg on an ounce of water because drilling in remote wastelands of the nation for oil is KILLING endangered termites. Plus, millions of illegal aliens need full service health care provided for free. Why waste time and money on Homeland Security when these other issues far outweigh the current state of terrorism?

Mixolydian 8 years, 5 months ago

That was no terrorist. That was Nigerian prince Bayo Abendego. He was coming to give me my 1/3 cut of his father's millions. He needed someone in America to act as a broker. All I had to do was pay his barrister fees and bank fees and the $26 million is mine.

I hope this mistake is cleared up soon. He promised me that money. Ha! My relatives called me crazy to reply to his e-mail. 419 scam? I don't think so.

jaywalker 8 years, 5 months ago

My thouhts exactly, gphawk.


Where ya been!? Didn't realize how much I"ve missed seeing your posts, 'til that one cracked me the bleep up! Grassy ass.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 5 months ago

recorded history of commercial aviation, there has never been a case of an airplane being disrupted by a 55 year old, blond haired, fat, American citizen of German-Scottish ancestry.

---obvious sleeper cell!

you mean being nice and apologizing to them about amerika's existence didn't prevent this? tieing the hands of our intelligence folks, threatening them with investigation and show trials didn't prevent this? wow, I'm amazed.

"The Whitehouse elaborated: this was obviously George Bush's fault, "when we walked in the door ..." "the mess we faced on day one ..." "hated around the world" ..." "chickens came home to roost."

big kudos to courageous passengers and possible Air Marshal.

I'm hoping he gets real good treatment at that hospital! in fact, I'd like to suggest some good treatments! but of course, we better not torture this illegal combatant, and we better read him his rights, this isn't war--its a legal problem, riiiiight.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Marion, the virus expert, the expert on environmental remediation, the history expert, the legal beagle, expert in school finance, Lawrence downtown, and historic an expert at airline security.

His only expertise is hitting the Google search button. Oh, that, and not paying taxes or his bills.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Two weeks ago I was pulled out of line for further screening. It seems that the elastic support I have on my elbow looked suspicious, so it was swabbed for explosives. At the same time, Umar Farouk-looking people were breezing right through.

Another time, I was profiled because the TSA rep "thought I looked like a nice person and would not bite her head off" for being pulled aside.

PC and security do not blend well to prevent "man-made disasters."

georgiahawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Are you right wingers serious about your above comments?

If not, then you are all real funny! If you are, then you are all so off base that you are still funny, just not in the same way! If you are blaming Obama and the left for this attempted terrorist act then it is fair to say that we can give Obama and the left credit for thwarting it. It might be more logical to step out of your ideological maze and see it from outside of your myopic gaze.

georgiahawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Yes Moocher, pretty silly to give credit to the left for thwarting this act! But, what do you mean by blaming Obama and the left for it happening? My point is, this act has nothing to do with your myopic view that every thing is to be seen through right versus left disagreements.

Godot 8 years, 5 months ago

I retract my comment; I thought it was Saturday all day long, so when I saw "Friday" I thought it meant the day before. My apologies. I must have had Christmas fog from hours upon hours of playing cars and pirates with a 3 year old.

classclown 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm waiting for friends and family members of this guy to start posting about what a nice guy he is and how he made a mistake. And how all of you have made mistakes in the past and nobody is perfect so you all should just shut up

Not to mention all the idiots that get on here and post how we don't know all the facts and we shouldn't rush to judgment.

laughingatallofu 8 years, 5 months ago

Jacob123 hates America. Perhaps he'd be happier living somewhere else.

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago

The founding principles and holy books of Islam, Judaism and Christianity are strikingly similar.

Allahu Akbar means God is great, a sentiment found in the other 2 religions as well.

All 3 have extremists who are dangerous, hate-filled and prone to violence.

There has been evidence that Bin Laden's attempt to stir up a jihad wouldn't have had much success if we weren't so intent on invading the Middle East. The Koran has a commandment (not sure that's the right word) to resist oppressive invaders.

Extremism is the problem - combined with our tendency to act intrusively and aggressively.

cowboy 8 years, 5 months ago

I think just to be safe they should have just set him on the tarmac and used one of those bomb robots to put a charge into him just to be sure everything had blown up. " Silence , I keel you "

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

"... may have been ..." All that frozen white stuff that fell out of the sky? It may have been snow.

Psalms20 8 years, 5 months ago

jafs, this is directed to you! The name Islam, literally means submission! The word Allah comes from just one of the 360 different Gods that the Arabian people in the seventh century would worship. Allah was the Moon God, which Muhammeds family worshiped and thought was the true God. also his father and uncle were also named Allah. Mohammad killed thousands of people who would not submit to his created religion. Jesus never killed anyone when he was spreading his message. Do not confuse what is man made and what is truly divine. I pray Psalms 20 for all!

geekin_topekan 8 years, 5 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says…

“… may have been …” All that frozen white stuff that fell out of the sky? It may have been snow. ++++ Snap, you give that desperate little man much power. Criminal, no doubt about it. Extremist? his own mind, I'm sure. Terrorist, by definition, sure. Case in point: If every crack pot that claimed to be "crip" or "blood" was truly associated, larryville would be over run by LA drug gangs long ago. Fortunately most of the G's in Lawrence are wannabes. Don't give that little man your power or surrender to his message. It is not very becoming of a well adjusted American. G's became fashionable to the lost and lonely because it was glamorized as the way to gain "respect" by fear filled media such as the drivel seen on this thread. I have a suspicion that being a Muslim extremist and associating ones self with al queda(sp?) has reached a similar level of fashion among that group of people. Disassociate the name from rash moves such as his and some of the threat will be diffused with little to no effort at all. Run around screaming "they are attacking" only encourages this sort of thing. I may be wrong, but that's how I fell about this little POS.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

In Marion's next life, he will be a "Google Alert" named chicken little.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

That's funny Marion. That is exactly the same thing you wrote about me on your racist blog which got pulled this morning. Doing a little Merrill cut-and-paste, huh?

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

So, how many of mario's ranting blogs have been deleted for TOS violations?














Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Mario, what happened to that link which you posted at 12:25am above?

You and the Goose seem to do great work at that time of day.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says… "Boston_Corbett would have you believe that oppostion to illegal immigration constitutes “racism”."

uh, it wasn't Boston who removed your blog, Marion. We have never discussed immigration, legal or otherwise, but yes your blog was racist. It was way beyond your usual baiting.

jaywalker 8 years, 5 months ago

Seems to be something conspicuously lacking from the usual make-up of the posters on this string. Gee, I wonder why that might be.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

Down the memory hole went mario's blog












LJW, how many strikes does mario get before he's disappeareded?

brujablanco 8 years, 5 months ago

Ah, come on, now, Marion just wants to go back to the America she once knew. You know, the 50s or even the 60s.
The problem is there are no consequences for folks like Ms. Marion, so why should she stop? If she had her way, the only people who could vote would be white male land owners - oops, wait..... she owns nothing, so I guess just being a white male would work. Sickening excuse for a human.

ralphralph 8 years, 5 months ago

This incident falls within the actual job of the President ... what a shame he is shunning his duties as commander in chief in order to bring us all free doctors and magic ponies.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

From now on, everybody flies nekkid. Everybody gets a machete when they enter the plane. Let's make it a level playing field.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 5 months ago

"we", mario?


























leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

Individual from Nigeria attempts a terrorist attack. Our government responds by stepping up airport security in the US. I think they just might be missing the point.

leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

To my friends on the left, I want you to feel comfortable like it was the Bush Administration.

Boy the Obama Administration really blew it on this one. They knew about the individual. His father notified the US about the son after Obama took office and they he nothing to protect us from this man. The buck stops with Obama, you know all of those great sayings we have been hearing from the left over the years. Plug those in here.

leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

Probie....I love NCIS too. Nice Marion.

TopJayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

You mean all that bowing and butt-kissing our coward in chief has done with the Moo-slim royalty did not stop this? How can that be?

TopJayhawk 8 years, 5 months ago

Tom Shewmon is right. Moo-slims have been probing for several yrs now. The examples are thick. You just need to open your eyes. Wouldn't bee surprised if that Moo-slim that snuck into the White House recently for the state dinner was not also probing for weakness.

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago


The idea of submission of individual will to God's will is not unique to Islam - Jesus is reputed to have said "Not my will, but thine" shortly before his death, for example.

Jesus may not have killed anyone, but Christians tortured, persecuted and executed many people in the name of Christianity.

The Old Testament contains stories about how the Jewish people, in order to live in the holy city God had promised them, had to conquer and subdue the existing inhabitants.

If anyone thinks that Islam is the problem, and that the other 2 monotheistic religions are fine, I think they're badly mistaken.

All contain some very valuable, meaningful ideas and practices, and all contain some very flawed and destructive ones. Extremists in all three are responsible for all kinds of tragic consequences.

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago

And, any analysis that fails to take account of America's violent and less than enlightened exercises of power over the years is missing an important point.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone believe that mideast populations are tired of USA military occupation?

It is killing thousands of our military people and hundreds of thousands of their innocent men,women and children.

It is killing our economy as well:

frank mcguinness 8 years, 5 months ago

I am a firm believer that the majority of Muslims are Peaceful people. The problem is that the few who are extremists are very, very dangerous.

The problem is that as a primarily christian nation we cannot go attack or kill all of the radical muslims on their soil because then the peaceful ones take that as an affront to their people, land and they push back against the primarily christian nations.

The ANSWER: It's time that the peaceful people of islam stand up against their radicals, individuals, imams, leaders, who ever promotes violence, hate and the like.

As someone who truly believes that Islam is a peaceful religion we as the rest of the inhabitants of earth can only take so much before we go ape all over them and start doing what we do best. Destroy whole countries..

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…"Ya can't always know who or why you are going to aggravate with a given blog or post...."

Yea Marion. Your racism is always so unintentional. Your response reminds me of David Duke: "Who, me?"

temperance 8 years, 5 months ago

beobachter: Yeah, and the same fools who are worried about all of the "czars" were cheering on the creation of DHS way back when.

Question for conservatives and Obamapologists who support the Afghan surge: Do you think bombing and occupying Muslim countries increases or decreases the odds of terrorists trying to blow up US airplanes?

Questions for Jacob123: Do you think typing your desire "to poop" on Islam is a constructive use of your time? Are you being naughty and using your dad's computer again? Is it time for a nap?

staff04 8 years, 5 months ago

"Actually the best thing would be to make the Terrorist Watch list and the Do Not Fly list the same thing"

'Cept they should still be allowed to buy whatever guns they want, when they want, and where they want...right Marion?

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Marion is struggling to keep the eyeballs focused on his (secret) racist views.

brujablanco 8 years, 5 months ago

Stalking? OMG what a hoot!!!!!! You of all people should know the real definition of stalking. If you have forgotten, ask choke - she knows............

Boston is only shining a bright light on your racism - that's what pi**es you off. Grow a pair and quit whining.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 5 months ago

Newell Post- I just flew today. There wasn't a huge change in airport security that I noticed. The only thing different that I experienced was the request to remove my 11 month olds booties and have them scanned, something I had never been asked to do in previous travels. However, that may of been something we were supposed to have done all along, but was just overlooked previously.

leedavid 8 years, 5 months ago

Temperance: "Question for conservatives and Obamapologists who support the Afghan surge: Do you think bombing and occupying Muslim countries increases or decreases the odds of terrorists trying to blow up US airplanes?"

Uh... they killed 3,000 Americans and we weren't bombing or occupying Muslim countries then. There are a group of radical Muslims that have declared war against the west way back during the Clinton years. Some of us are a little slow to catch on.

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago

The US has been supporting Israel militarily for many years against the Palestinians (who are Muslim, and who were there before Israel was created).

The US supported the Shah of Iran, who forced modernization by punishing any who wished to live traditional lifestyles.

The US generally has a very myopic and distorted view of other cultures, and little tolerance for cultural differences.

The US has extended military force (both overtly and covertly) in order to influence/affect governments all around the world for it's own benefit, supporting brutal dictators.

I believe if we want a more peaceful situation (for ourselves and others), we must look at these actions honestly, and evaluate whether they are really even in our own best interests.

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago

And, from a recent article, it appears that the failures of security were in other nations, namely Amsterdam and Nigeria.

We had supplied some technology that would have detected these substances, but for some reason it wasn't used.

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…"I challenge brujablanco...."

Classic Mario. When confronted with his own postings he "challenges" and cajoles, threatens, spins, and deceives.

He accuses me of "stalking." Ha.

It is his own little late night blog that got snuffed just as soon as the mods got to work the next morning. Post it again Marion. Show us how non-racist it was.

Oh, I guess not. The LJW isn't that stupid.

Nor are we.

ksdivakat 8 years, 5 months ago

This is undeniably the biggest blunder of the Obama admin. I have to ask, why isnt the left all over this?? When 9-11 hit they cruisified GWB for being in a classroom of 6 y/o and not jumping up to scare the kids to death by telling them what happened, and to leave, but Obama stayed on his 15k a day vaca???

jafs 8 years, 5 months ago


Nobody wanted Bush to tell the kids - they wanted him to leave the classroom and find out what was going on immediately, and then act intelligently, and wondered why he would simply sit there until news of the second attack came in.

And are you really comparing the 9-11 attacks which killed about 3,000 people and brought down the WTC towers to a botched attempt that hurt nobody?

Should he have come back from vacation immediately? Maybe so, but the two scenarios are vastly different.

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