Monday, 28 December, 2009 1:45 PM
Nigerian National Charged
With Attempting to Destroy Northwest Airlines Aircraft
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport
-- A 23-year-old Nigerian man was charged in a federal
criminal complaint today with attempting to destroy a Northwest
Airlines aircraft on its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan
Airport on Christmas Day, and with placing a destructive device
on the aircraft.
to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint,
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, a Nigerian national, boarded
Northwest Flight 253 in Amsterdam, Netherlands on December 24,
2009 and had a device attached to his body. As the flight was
approaching Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Abdulmutallab set
off the device, which resulted in a fire and what appears to
have been an explosion. Abdulmutallab was then subdued and restrained
by the passengers and flight crew. The airplane landed shortly
thereafter, and he was taken into custody by Customs and Border
FBI analysis found that the device contained PETN, also known
as pentaerythritol, a high explosive. Further analysis is ongoing.
In addition, FBI agents recovered what appear to be the remnants
of the syringe from the vicinity of Abdulmutallab's seat, believed
to have been part of the device.
alleged attack on a U.S. airplane on Christmas Day shows that
we must remain vigilant in the fight against terrorism at all
times," Attorney General Eric Holder said. "Had this
alleged plot to destroy an airplane been successful, scores
of innocent people would have been killed or injured. We will
continue to investigate this matter vigorously, and we will
use all measures available to our government to ensure that
anyone responsible for this attempted attack is brought to justice."
required medical treatment, and was transported to the University
of Michigan Medical Center after the plane landed. He will make
his initial court appearance later today.
of all of the passengers and crew of Flight 253 revealed that
prior to the incident, Abdulmutallab went to the bathroom for
approximately twenty minutes, according to the affidavit. Upon
returning to his seat, Abdulmutallab stated that his stomach
was upset, and he pulled a blanket over himself. Passengers
then heard popping noises similar to firecrackers, smelled an
odor, and some observed Abdulmutallab's pants leg and the wall
of the airplane on fire. Passengers and crew then subdued Abdulmutallab
and used blankets and fire extinguishers to put out the flames.
Passengers reported that Abdulmutallab was calm and lucid throughout.
One flight attendant asked him what he had had in his pocket,
and he replied "explosive device."
prosecutions are being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office
for the Eastern District of Michigan, with assistance from the
Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National
investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
US Customs and Border Protection, and the Joint Terrorism Task
The public is reminded that criminal complaints contain mere
allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven
U.S. Department of Justice
by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
-- "I am grateful to the passengers and
crew aboard Northwest Flight 253 who reacted quickly and
heroically to an incident that could have had tragic results.
The Department of Homeland Security immediately put additional
screening measures into place -- for all domestic and
international flights -- to ensure the continued safety
of the traveling public. We are also working closely with
federal, state and local law enforcement on additional
security measures, as well as our international partners
on enhanced security at airports and on flights.
American people should continue their planned holiday
travel and, as always, be observant and aware of their
surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or activity
to law enforcement officials.
flying from international locations to U.S. destinations
may notice additional security measures in place. These
measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers
should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due
to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international
travelers should allot extra time for check-in."
Department of Homeland Security
Air Lines Issues Statement on Northwest Flight 253
-- Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today issued a
statement regarding the incident onboard Northwest Airlines
Flight 253 bound for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County
Airport from Amsterdam.
approach to Detroit, a passenger caused a disturbance
onboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The passenger was
subdued immediately and the crew requested that law enforcement
meet the flight upon arrival. The flight, operated by
Northwest using an Airbus 330-300 aircraft with 278 passengers
onboard, landed safely. The passenger was taken into custody
and questioned by law enforcement authorities. Delta is
cooperating fully with authorities and additional questions
should be directed to law enforcement officials who are
leading the investigation."
Delta Air Lines
Lauds Courage of Crew and Passengers on Terror Flight
YORK -- The American Jewish Committee praised
the crew and passengers traveling on a Northwest Airlines
flight from Amsterdam to Detroit who prevented a bombing
attack by an alleged Al Qaeda operative. The plane landed
safely after the terrorist, Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab,
a Nigerian national said to be studying in London, was
we approach the end of a decade defined by the experience
of 9/11, this attack - thankfully foiled through the sheer
courage of those on board the plane - is a painful reminder
that the struggle against Islamist terrorism continues,"
said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
said that while Al Qaeda has been dealt a significant
blow in Iraq, it continues to operate elsewhere in the
Islamic world, in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Somalia and Yemen, where Abdulmutallab is said to have
collected his device. "Americans will be struck that
the massacre at Fort Hood, which occurred in November,
was carried out by an army officer who was in close contact
with an Al Qaeda cleric also based in Yemen," Harris
said. "There will be similar concerns over the fact
that Abdulmutallab was allowed to board in Amsterdam with
a valid US visa, despite appearing in a database listing
those with significant terrorist connections."
urged governments, intelligence services and airlines
to review security procedures in the wake of the foiled
attack. "We came perilously close to a terrible massacre
on Christmas Day. We need to know why Abdulmutallab was
able to board the plane carrying explosives and how similar
assaults will be prevented in the future on the ground,
and not in the air," Harris said.
said the attempted attack was another display of the violent
jihadi ideology associated with Al Qaeda. "Theirs
is an ideology that seeks to destroy the freedoms of democratic
societies. When executed, it does not discriminate between
men and women, non-Muslims and Muslims, those steeped
in riches and those mired in poverty. That is why the
jihadis are the enemy of all of us."
American Jewish Committee