Video: Northwest 253 passengers tell of thwarted terror attack; Update: Bomber’s dad reported him to feds? Update: Hoekstra says “may” have been in contact with Awlaki

posted at 10:19 am on December 26, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

A crew from WXYZ-TV in Detroit managed to interview a few of the passengers from Northwest 253 after the attempted terrorist attack by a self-proclaimed member of al-Qaeda attempted to blow it up. The passengers apparently learned the lesson from United 93 on 9/11, which is that when anyone threatens the plane, everyone becomes a security officer and acts accordingly. They stopped the terrorist before he could do any more harm, both to himself and others, but the description raises a few questions (via North Star National):

One passenger says that the terrorist’s pants were “on fire,” which corroborates the reports of severe burns he suffered. However, the next passenger interviewed reported that the terrorist was calm, not in shock at all. In other terrorist attacks, such as in Mumbai and Afghanistan, the terrorists got themselves so high on drugs that they were unable to feel pain. It sounds as if that may have been the case here, because anyone who had those kinds of burns — by some report, third-degree burns — would not be sitting calmly unless heavily medicated.

And that again prompts the question: how the hell did this guy get through security in Amsterdam?

Update (AP): The Telegraph says the bomber might have studied in London as recently as last year. As for the security breach:

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, one of Europe’s busiest, enforces European carry-on luggage regulations including only allowing liquids in containers of 100ml or less that must be placed inside clear plastic bags. Connecting passengers, including those at Schiphol, should routinely reclear security when connecting from another country…

Airports in Nigeria do not typically conduct tests for explosive residue on passengers’ carry-on baggage and shoes. However, a spokesman for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria said the airport in Lagos had cleared a US Transportation Security Administration audit in November…

Kieran Daly, an expert in aviation security, said that installing the type of security at airports to combat terrorism of the kind attempted on the Christmas Day Detroit-bound flight could be extremely costly and take a very long time. “The global task of getting that equipment installed will be very, very difficult within the sort of timescale that is required,” he said.

“The latest incident could in some respects be described as a success in that it shows that would-be terrorists are now having to resort to trying to get very small devices on board planes. Thanks to increased security, the sort of devices are now not big enough to actually bring down a plane. The terrorists have had to resort to more and more inadequate devices and they are a very long way from actually bringing down an aircraft.”

The bomber now claims he’s not linked to Al Qaeda. How’d he end up in that terror database then?

Update (AP): “I took him in a choke to the first class and all the people were like, ‘What’s going on?!”

Update (AP): A Nigerian paper says the bomber’s own father dropped a dime on him after his son’s jihadist invective started to freak him out.

The older Mutallab, as at the time of filing this report, had just left his Katsina hometown for Abuja to speak with security agencies, family sources say. According to the family members, Mutallab has been uncomfortable with the boy’s extreme religious views and had six months ago reported his activities to United States’ Embassy, Abuja and Nigerian security agencies.

The older Mutallab was said to be devastated on hearing the news of Abdul Farouk’s attempted bombing and arrest. A source close to him said he was surprised that after his reports to the US authorities, the young man was allowed to travel to the United States…

At the secondary school, he was known for preaching about Islam to his school mates and he was popularly called �Alfa�, a local coinage for Islamic scholar. After his secondary school, the suspect went to University College London to study engineering and later relocated to Egypt, and then Dubai. While in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, he declared to his family members that he did not want to have anything to do with any of them again.

Update (Ed): Hmmmm.  An indirect connection to Nidal Hasan and the Fort Hood shootings?  Via Mediate and Politico:

There was a suggestion of links between Abdulmutallab and radical US-born Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, who had contacts with the US army psychiatrist accused of gunning down 13 people at a Texas military base last month.

“He may have been in contact with the American imam al-Aulaqi,” Peter Hoekstra, the most senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and a member of Congress for Michigan, told AFP.

“There are reports that he had contact and that he was recently in Yemen. The question we’ll have to raise is was this imam in Yemen influential enough to get some people to attack the US again.”

This sounds purely speculative at the moment, unless Hoekstra reveals more in an interview on Fox News Sunday tomorrow.  But if it’s true, it sounds as though Anwar al-Awlaki may have been trying to take command of a more active wing of the al-Qaeda network all by himself.  Too bad Awlaki may have survived that attack in Yemen after all.


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I wonder who else was on this flight.

diogenes on December 26, 2009 at 7:31 PM

I remember in the 70s and 80s, when Schiphol was a hub for heroin smuggling, you could walk an elephant through security. Also in the 80s and 90s, Nigerian travelers were always subject to more scrutiny because of the numbers of Nigerian heroin couriers.

Somebody dropped the ball here.

Gary Fouse
DEA-retired

gary fouse on December 26, 2009 at 8:02 PM

I wonder who else was on this flight.

diogenes on December 26, 2009 at 7:31 PM

That what I wondered. Don’t they have ‘spotters’?

Ugly on December 26, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Never send a man alone… he might crack.

Ugly on December 26, 2009 at 8:19 PM

Everyone stop, you need not worry …

The Discovery Channel has a special edition on the KKK in the USA, and skin heads are highlighted.

These are the real terrorists.

*******

“Don’t jump to Conclusions!”, “Cops are idiots and they act stupidly!”

father on December 26, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Obamacase poses the solution for all our airplane security worries. Congress will make it a law that a person has to have all teeth extracted, ears checked, complete gynecological exam, and a colonoscopy at the airport before anyone is allowed to board.

Call it the fusion of healthcare and national security.

Oh, and we’ll tax everybody beyond their ability to ever fly again anyway, to pay for it.

justincase on December 26, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Easy, Amsterdam security was hacked, it was an inside job clearly.

father on December 26, 2009 at 8:54 PM

The Discovery Channel has a special edition on the KKK in the USA, and skin heads are highlighted.

These are the real terrorists

Well said…How many times have they repeated this drivel…I grew up in the deep south and have never known of the KKK anywhere, anytime, nor have my friends…I was active duty Marines during the Clinton years and we were subjected to lots of troop training regarding extremists, skinheads and such. And, the hazing witchhunts that went on for years…What a joke. It’s the angry white males who are the problem as anyone can see…

Nozzle on December 26, 2009 at 9:42 PM

[Comment deleted, user banned -- Ed]

simplesimon on December 26, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Simpleton had been banned. He ought to be allowed to continue to show the world how ugly, stupid and bigoted a typical lefty is.

bayview on December 26, 2009 at 10:23 PM

The guy did not go through security in Amsterdam since it was a connecting international flight.

Now question: should we treat security from other airports e.g. Laos, as secure?

And should we treat someone who is introduced at the gate by a guy in a suit as someone-without-a-passport, as a person that does not need to be stripsearched?

may be it was the koran the suit-guy was holding..

mooseburger on December 26, 2009 at 10:25 PM

The guy did not go through security in Amsterdam since it was a connecting international flight.

mooseburger on December 26, 2009 at 10:25 PM

I traveled through Schiphol Airport many times. You DO pass through security boarding a US bounded flight even if you are just connecting. I cut down on international travel just to avoid the hassle. (That, plus the US dollar is not worth half a Euro now. And thanks to Barry,it will be worth even less.)

bayview on December 26, 2009 at 10:34 PM

I still wonder why the US doesn’t take a diffferent tack with Domestic flights; I believe there are about 30,000 domestic flights daily, so around 20,000 Federal marshalls could cover that schedule effectively. We could eliminate a lot of the TSA hassles of domestic flying by adding Marshalls to every Domestic flight. TSA could more effectively focus on baggage screening of checked luggage.
If that model was acheived, then our next step would be to work with other nations with flights originating internationally and headed into the US.

Red State State of Mind on December 26, 2009 at 10:45 PM

If that model was acheived, then our next step would be to work with other nations with flights originating internationally and headed into the US.

Red State State of Mind on December 26, 2009 at 10:45 PM

Before we ask other countries to help us in keeping our country safe from islamic terrorists, how about American embassies all over the world stop giving visas just because someone has applied for it. Just stop. When did entry into the USA become a right and our obligation ?
Do we really need those dollars from visa fees ? Are we in such bad shape that we can’t survive without terrorists paying us a few bucks to come here to kill us ?
Just stop. Start all over again after a year.

macncheez on December 26, 2009 at 11:17 PM

Just to give everyone a clearer picture of what might have happened, you might want to go here.

Check out the first video.

What this muzzie attempted to do was quite doable.

He just didn’t do it right.

The next one might.

CPT. Charles on December 26, 2009 at 11:18 PM

Unbelievable that he was allowed to travel to the States. I think it’s time to demand that Homeland Security get a grip on the real problem.

AnninCA on December 26, 2009 at 11:30 PM

Ann! I’d been patiently waiting for your comments so I’d know what you think.

Here’s a challenge: attempt 5 consecutive posts without using the word ‘think’. Do you think you can do that?

DarkCurrent on December 27, 2009 at 12:04 AM

Annin Descartes : Cogito, ergo sum !!

bayview on December 27, 2009 at 12:23 AM

Unbelievable that he was allowed to travel to the States. I think it’s time to demand that Homeland Security get a grip on the real problem.

AnninCA on December 26, 2009 at 11:30 PM

Or for people to finally accept that all this “you can’t carry a bottle of breast milk onto the plane and you MUST take your shoes off” stuff is just bullshit to give the appearance of security.

If some nutjob decides he’s going to off himself/herself and take others with them then the only people who will stop them are family or friends (this guy’s father warned the US embassy about the threat) OR the person in the seat next to them. The odds are DHS or TSA will not be able to stop someone who is determined and they know that.

The other thing to consider is the incredibly tiny risk that “death by terrorist action” poses to each of us. Each of us in the US is twelve times more likely to die in a railway accident than die by some freak terrorist action.. and yet our government wants us to live in fear of terrorists and spend close to a trillion dollars a year “defending” us from them. It’s a scam.

popularpeoplesfront on December 27, 2009 at 12:42 AM

However, he got his visa in London in 2008…the only other question is why they didn’t stop him from flying.

Chudi on December 26, 2009 at 2:58 PM

The BBC is reporting:

It has also emerged that the suspect, who previously studied in London, was denied a UK visa this summer.

Mr Abdulmutallab is said to have been an engineering student at University College London between 2005 and 2008.

But according to Whitehall sources he was refused permission to return by the UK Border Agency after attempting to apply for a course at a bogus college.

That seems a bit odd, given the current searches of the UK residences, and his father’s status.

Perhaps the father also warned off the UK authorities about his son, and they, at least, paid attention?

Nichevo on December 27, 2009 at 3:32 AM

Simple Simon is banned? ‘Scuse me while I do the happy dance.
Disagreeing is one thing, spewing mentally ill, unhinged hatred is another.
LONG overdue IMHO.

popularpeoplesfront, that’s a lovely marxist name. If you want a scam look at the AGW, health reform, the EPA, etc. We ignored the threat before and got about 3000 dead Americans as a result. It’s all just a bumper sticker tho, huh? (sarc)
You are the one who has bought into a lie. Excuse the hell out of us for facing that which you cannot – reality.

Hard Right on December 27, 2009 at 5:30 AM

popularpeoplesfront on December 27, 2009 at 12:42 AM

Islamic Terrorists who want to destroy all infidels and the Great Satan are not a threat, huh? How’s that unicorn in your front yard doing?

kingsjester on December 27, 2009 at 6:06 AM

Zero is going to have to end his vacation early IMO.

A simple botched terror attack is one thing – a connection to Awlaki indicates we are under attack. DHS lowered the threat level for the Christmas travel season. Ooops. The guys own father warned US officials. Nobody can understand why this guy was allowed on the flight.

Complete incompetence.

Napolitano should resign over this. She’s too busy trying to demonize right wingers to bother with some silly terrorists who have declared war on us.

Mr Purple on December 27, 2009 at 6:28 AM

popularpeoplesfront on December 27, 2009 at 12:42 AM

Well if a train is intent on killing you then odds are the train will kill you so why bother with any safety precautions at all? It’s a scam.

Mr Purple on December 27, 2009 at 6:31 AM

Ann! I’d been patiently waiting for your comments so I’d know what you think.

Here’s a challenge: attempt 5 consecutive posts without using the word ‘think’. Do you think you can do that?

DarkCurrent on December 27, 2009 at 12:04 AM

HAHAHA! That comment and Ed’s revelation that simplesimon had the banhammer dropped on him just made my morning.

chunderroad on December 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM

Political correctness kills.

“Don’t you dare search that muslim terrorists that has 2 pounds of a clay explosives stuffed up his butt.” (btw that is factual, has happened, not a funny, not fantasy, look it up)

father on December 27, 2009 at 10:30 AM

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/200160.php
CPT. Charles on December 26, 2009 at 11:18 PM

I blame your comment link for the reason I have added whiskey to my morning coffee…(not that I needed an excuse.) Everyone should view this video…
To think of the damage that such a small amount an inflict–(the size of the head of a match)–makes you wonder how much more a
“condom full” (which what is suspected to be the transfer device) would have inflicted–especially if he was seated strategically anwhere near the main fuel compartment…or wing section…
I think I need another cup of coffee…

lovingmyUSA on December 27, 2009 at 10:43 AM

I say, “Great job, Brownie Janet!”

lovingmyUSA on December 27, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Saw this in an article today

Dutch filmmaker Jasper Schuringa has been identified in the media as a passenger who subdued Mutallab.

Terrorists: 1
Dutch filmmakers: 1

29Victor on December 27, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Oh, I just LOVE this quote from Yahoo News: “Intelligence officials said they lacked enough information to place him in the 400,000-person terror watch list or on the no-fly list of fewer than 4,000 people who should be blocked from air travel.”

So, I’m guessing if the terrorists are blocked from air travel, they can enter the USA via cruise ships or just CROSS THE BORDER ON FOOT FROM MEXICO and or Canada. Is it just ‘air travel’ that is being half-as#ed checked? Our great government just can’t bear to secure our borders for fear that their donor buddies will cut off political donations if they don’t get their cheap labor – to heck with security!

brendy on December 27, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Ambassador Dan Gilliman, former Israel Ambassador to the UN, on FOX says we are fighting yesterday’s terrorism, when we should be fighting tomorrow’s terrorism. “We have to fight tomorrow’s war”–he says repeatedly. “What if that had been a “dirty bomb”?

He also said this is an example that “poverty does not breed terrorism” but that “terrorism breeds poverty”…

This is what a REAL ambassador it like…

Scary to think that the current administration has no one comparable…or A Homeland Security Department that is anywhere competent to make this assessment…

lovingmyUSA on December 27, 2009 at 11:18 AM

You’re not gloing to get Eric Holder to investigate muslims. He has his orders and you know who from. Thats like investigating ACORN or the BLACK PANTHER Voter Intimidation. Will not happen under this POTUS

Why don’t someonbe ask Kadapi or whatever his name is what Reagan would do?

bluegrass on December 27, 2009 at 11:32 AM

I wonder if the TSAs ‘workers’ are SEIU members? It’s time to promote card check and what better reason than security. Hey, do tin foil hats come in purple?

Fuquay Steve on December 27, 2009 at 12:10 PM

From Politico

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”

Janet Wet-Nappy is the definition of the word insanity.

gordo on December 27, 2009 at 12:14 PM

From Politico

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”
Janet Wet-Nappy is the definition of the word insanity.

gordo on December 27, 2009 at 12:14 PM

+1

Fuquay Steve on December 27, 2009 at 12:23 PM

“His pants were on fire.”

He must have been a liar, liar.—Like someone else we know who is in Hawaii.

Nalea on December 27, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Here’s a system that will work…Flight attendant:

Notice there are 2 exits over the wings. In the event that a terrorist sets himself on fire, the closest person to an exit hold on to something, pull the exit lever, and the rest of you put out the fire, throw that jerk out of the plane, put on your oxygen masks, relax and have a nice rest of your flight.

Nalea on December 27, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Sunday that the thwarting of the attempt to blow up an Amsterdam-Detroit airline flight Christmas Day demonstrated that “the system worked.”

Yeah? You know why it worked? Because people on the plane, one or two of whom has more backbone than the collected spines of the Obama administration, had the nerve to go after the guy attempting to light his pants on fire to blow up the plane.

It had nothing to do with “the system” and everything to do with people who decided they didn’t want to die in the skies over Michigan.

She’s an idiot. The entire Obama administration is populated with socialists, fools, and morons.

englishqueen01 on December 27, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Two Terrorist Attacks under BHO ‘leadership’. Funny, you don’t hear anything about that.

PappaMac on December 27, 2009 at 5:13 PM

Isn’t Obamas relative (George ?) living in a hut somewhere in Nigeria? Maybe if O had sent him a christmas gift this wouldn’t have happened.

Fuquay Steve on December 27, 2009 at 9:27 PM

You have no passport? Well, you don’t fly to the USA, pal – PERIOD.
`
We are far more interested in maintaining some illusion of Muslim innocence through enforced “politically correct” policies and decisions than in stopping terrorist attacks. This is not debatable: why would we be “randomly” strip-searching old American ladies, while letting chanting radical Islamic clerics to pass through unchallenged?
`
If innocent Muslims are inconvenienced, it is regrettable. Perhaps if they were more intent upon cleaning their own house and in protecting human life, their indignities might be short-lived.
`

Adjoran on December 28, 2009 at 3:55 AM

I am not going to read the comments so far.
 
I have a question for general discussion:
How does a member of the “terrorist watch list” get a visa approved by the U.S. Embassy in London?
 
Liar, liar, [under]pants on fire!!
/no sarc extra snark

Blacksmith8 on December 29, 2009 at 2:12 PM

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