Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab The 'Underwear Bomber' Pleads Guilty


  Bookmark and Share

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab The 'Underwear Bomber' Pleads Guilty

By Shane Nolan

October 14, 2011 - Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, of Kaduna, Nigeria, the so-called "underwear bomber," pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court to eight counts of terrorism-related charges. Abdulmutallab faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. 

Abdulmutallab, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, willfully attempting to destroy and wreck a civil aircraft, and three counts of possession of a destructive device.

Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen for the purpose of becoming involved in violent "jihad" on behalf of Al Qaeda. There, Abdulmutallab conspired with other Al Qaeda members to bomb a U.S. aircraft over U.S. soil and received an explosive device for that purpose.

The device consisted of a six-inch (15-cm) packet which was sewn into his underwear containing the explosive powder PETN, which became a plastic explosive when mixed with the high explosive triacetone triperoxide (TAPN) (the same two explosives that were used by Richard Reid in 2001), and a syringe containing liquid acid. Abdulmutallab created the explosive by mixing PETN with TAPN and other ingredients. 

Abdulmutallab's purpose in taking the bomb on board Flight 253 was to detonate it during flight, causing the plane to crash and killing the 290 passengers and crew members on board. As Flight 253 was on descent into Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the defendant detonated the bomb, which resulted in a fire, but otherwise did not fully explode. Passengers and flight attendants tackled the defendant and extinguished the fire. 

On Christmas Day 2009, Abdulmutallab traveled from Ghana to Amsterdam, where he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route to Detroit. He had purchased his ticket with cash in Ghana on December 16. Eyewitnesses Kurt Haskell and Lori Haskell told the Detroit News that prior to boarding the plane they witnessed a "smartly dressed Indian man" helping Abdulmutallab onto the plane.


They also testify that the ticket agent refused to allow Abdulmutallab on the plane because he did not have his own passport. These circumstances underlie some of the passengers' speculations that the U.S. government supplied a defective device to the perpetrator and a man in a tan suit with an American accent intervened, the matter was referred to a manager, and Abdulmutallab was then able to board the plane, presumably still without a passport. 

Abdulmutallab spent about 20 minutes in the bathroom as the flight approached Detroit, and then covered himself with a blanket after returning to his seat. Other passengers then heard popping noises, smelled a foul odor, and some saw Abdulmutallab?s trouser leg and the wall of the plane on fire. 

Fellow passenger Jasper Schuringa, a Dutch film director, jumped on Abdulmutallab and subdued him as flight attendants used fire extinguishers to douse the flames. Abdulmutallab was taken toward the front of the airplane cabin, was seen to have lost his trousers due to the fire, and had burns on his legs. When asked by a flight attendant what he had in his pocket, he replied: ?Explosive device.? 

After being taken into custody, Abdulmutallab told authorities he had been directed by al-Qaeda, and that he had obtained the device in Yemen. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the organization's affiliate in Yemen, subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack, describing it as revenge for the United States' role in a Yemeni military offensive against al-Qaeda in that country. 

On March 24, 2011, the Associated Press reported that Abdulmutallab chose to attack Detroit because the plane ticket there was the least expensive out of tickets to potential targets, which included Chicago and Houston. Initially, it was rumored that Abdulmutallab tried to fly to Detroit because it was a major hub of the U.S. automotive industry. 

"This case demonstrates that civilian courts are an appropriate tool for bringing terrorists to justice," United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said. "Thanks to the hard work and professionalism of the law enforcement personnel and prosecutors who worked on this case, the defendant will spend the rest of his life in prison."

"The case against Abdulmutallab was a combination of the hard work and dedication of FBI personnel as well as multiple federal, state and local agencies. Those individuals who experienced Christmas Day 2009 first hand can be rest assured that justice has and will be done," said Andrew G. Arena, special agent in charge of the FBI. Abdulmutallab sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2012, at 2 p.m., where he faces a mandatory life sentence.

Other News Stories (For the latest news please checkout our home page)


Home Aviation News Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Upcoming Events Links To Other Sites General Aviation Helicopters Medical Factors Facing Pilots
Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Sea Planes Editorials
 ?AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share


AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator