Nigerian man indicted in plot to blow up plane

A Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight bound from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day was indicted yesterday on charges including attempted murder and trying to use a weapon of mass destruction to kill nearly 300 people.





Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, tried to destroy the plane by injecting chemicals into a package of pentrite explosive concealed in his underwear, authorities say.



The failed attack caused popping sounds and flames that passengers and crew rushed to extinguish.



The bomb was designed to detonate "at a time of his choosing," the grand jury's indictment said.



There is no specific mention of terrorism in the seven-page indictment. But trying to use a weapon of mass destruction is a terrorism charge, US Attorney Barbara McQuade said.



President Barack Obama considers the incident an attempted strike against the United States by an affiliate of al-Qa'ida.



US investigators have said Abdulmutallab told them he received training and instructions from al-Qa'ida operatives in Yemen. His father warned the US Embassy in Nigeria that his son had drifted into extremism in Yemen, but that threat was never fully digested by the US security apparatus.



Since the failed attack, airlines and the Transportation Security Administration have boosted security in airports in the US and around the world. Obama has said the government had information that could have stopped Abdulmutallab, but intelligence agencies failed to connect the dots.



The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, reported last night that US border security officials learned of Abdulmutallab's alleged extremist links while he was en route to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed.



A federal database noted State Department concern that Abdulmutallab may have been involved with extremism in Yemen and officials decided to interview him when he arrived in the US, a senior law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing told the Times.



The newspaper said it is not clear whether the intelligence was strong enough for Dutch officials to stop Abdulmutallab from flying had they learned of it before the flight's departure, the newspaper reported.



The Department of Homeland Security had no immediate comment on the Times report Wednesday night.



Abdulmutallab faces up to life in prison if convicted of attempting to use a bomb on the plane. He is being held at a federal prison in Michigan, and a message seeking comment was left yesterday with his lawyers, Miriam Siefer and Leroy Soles.



"This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool — military or judicial — available to our government."



Abdulmutallab will make his first appearance in federal court on Friday for an arraignment and a hearing to determine if he stays in custody.



"Short of actual murder, these are some of the most serious charges in the criminal code," said Lloyd Meyer, a former terrorism prosecutor at US war crimes tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay prison. "These charges are tailored to the facts of what happened over the sky in Detroit."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine