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Tag: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Underwear Bomber Avoids More Restrictive Supermax Prison in Colo.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel

DETROIT — The young man who will be forever known as the “Underwear Bomber” caught a little bit of break.

The Detroit News reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who admitted trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day of 2009, was transferred Tuesday to a federal prison complex in Florence, Colo.  There he’ll be housed in a maximum-security facility, but not the Supermax prison reserved for the worst of the worst, which has far more restrictions when it comes to visits and contact with the outside world.

The Supermax prison, aka the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”, houses such notables as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma bomber Terry Nichols and some al Qaeda terrorists.

“I’m glad he’s not in Supermax,” Abdulmutallab legal adviser Anthony Chambers told the News. “Not being in Supermax will have its benefits.”


Breaking News: Underwear Bomber Sentenced to Life

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel

DETROIT –– In a federal courtroom in downtown Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man better known as the “Underwear Bomber”, was sentenced Thursday afternoon to life in prison for trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day in 2009.

Rail thin and clad in a white t-shirt and beige khakis, he looked more like an innocent high school kid than a 25-year-old from a privileged background in Nigeria.

But during the sentencing hearing, when given an opportunity to talk,  he spoke more like a hardcore terrorist and true believer in the fight against the west, offering no remorse and shouting out repeatedly, “God is Great.”

He made disparaging remarks about Jews and America and the FBI and the federal prosecutors and he praised the concept of killing in the name of God and Islam.

“The defendant has never expressed doubt or regret or remorse about his mission,” U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds said. “To the contrary, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission.” She hit him with four life sentences.

The sentencing included statements from passengers aboard the plane who were traumatized by the experience.

An emotional Flight attendant Lamare Mason talked about how the Underwear Bomber had turned his dream job into a nightmare.  Consequently, he said his job is more like a punishment.

“It’s not a joy,” he said.

Passenger Kurt Haskell, an attorney, stepped up to the podium, asked Mason to stand, and then praised him for putting out the fire. Mason stood in the back of the courtroom fighting back tears.

Haskell then went on to accuse the government of having a hand in the matter.

He said the FBI didn’t seem concerned there might be others on board who were involved.

And he said back in Amsterdam, Abdulmutallab boarded the plane without a passport with the assistance of someone at the airport.

“Regardless of how media and government try to shape this case, I am convinced that Umar was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. agent… to stage a false terrorist attack to be used to implement various government policies. It really saddens me that the government won’t admit its role in the event. Because of this case, I will never trust anything the government says, ever.”

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, who praised the judge for the sentence and feds who worked on the case, responded to Haskell’s remarks outside the courthouse and told reporters  that Haskell’s  theory “is not consistent with our facts.”

Andrew Arena, head of the Detroit FBI, said in a statement: “Those individuals who experienced Christmas Day 2009 first hand should be rest assured that justice has been done.”

And Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. issued a statement after sentencing, saying:

“As this investigation and prosecution have shown, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a remorseless terrorist who believes it is his duty to kill Americans. For attempting to take the lives of 289 innocent people, he has been appropriately sentenced to serve every day of the rest of his life in prison.

“Today’s sentence once again underscores the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in both incapacitating terrorists and gathering valuable intelligence from them.”




Detroit Feds Score Victory; Judge Rules Incriminating Statements of Underwear Bomber Admissible

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel

The feds in Detroit scored a victory in a pretrial battle against the man dubbed the “Underwear Bomber.”

The Detroit Free reports that U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds ruled Thursday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s incriminating statements he made to the FBI after the 2009 incident can be used in trial.

The paper reported that the judge concluded that Abdulmutallab wasn’t under the influence of the painkiller fentanyl when he confessed to the FBI that he was an al Qaeda operative who was trying to blow up the Northwest airlines plane bound for Detroit from Europe on Christmas Day in in 2009.

Edmunds also ruled that agents didn’t have to read him his Miranda rights before the interview because of concerns that there might have been other suicide bombers planning attacks that day.

“I’m satisfied based on the testimony… that he was in fact lucid, not confused and fully oriented,” Edmunds said following two days of testimony at an evidentiary hearing, according to the Free Press. “There was no reason to believe he didn’t understand the questions being asked or circumstances under which he was being asked those questions.”

She added: “I’m also satisfied there was a national security exception… that excused the giving of Miranda warnings.”

Agents eventually read the Miranda rights after questioning him for a while.

Jury selection is set to begin Oct. 4. Trial is set for Oct. 11.


FBI Memo Says Interrogators Can Delay Reading Miranda Warning to Terrorist Suspects

Faisal Shahzad

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — An FBI memo issued in December says investigators can interrogate domestic-terror suspects longer without giving them a Miranda warning, according to a  Wall Street Journal report by Evan Perez.

The FBI memo  said the policy applies to “exceptional cases” where investigators “conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat,” the Journal reported. Interrogators would still need prior approval from FBI and Justice officials.

The controversy over the Miranda warning in domestic terrorism cases surfaced in December 2009 with the “underwear bomber” in Detroit and later the Times Square Bomber.

Both were initially questioned for a period of time before the Miranda warning was read.  The underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdumtallab, was questioned for less than an hour before the Miranda warning was read and Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Bomber, was questioned for about three hours before the warning was read, the Journal reported.

Some  Republican and Democrats felt the suspects should have been sent to military detentions where the Miranda rules don’t apply, the Journal reported. Other critics felt the Miranda warning was issued too soon, jeopardizing chances of getting more valuable information.

But at the time, the Obama administration countered by saying the suspects continued to cooperate after the Miranda warnings were read and provided value information.

On the other side, some feel the government has no right to take the Miranda warning away from domestic terrorists.

The FBI memo seems follow to some degree a 1984 amendment to the  1966 Miranda ruling which allows questioning of suspects for a limited time before issuing the warning.

Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, told the Journal that  “law enforcement has the ability to question suspected terrorists without immediately providing Miranda warnings when the interrogation is reasonably prompted by immediate concern for the safety of the public or the agents.” He said “the threat posed by terrorist organizations and the nature of their attacks—which can include multiple accomplices and interconnected plots—creates fundamentally different public safety concerns than traditional criminal cases.”

Calif. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Journal that the administration’s tweaking of the law could have a downside.

“I don’t think the administration can accomplish what I think needs to be done by policy guidance alone,” he said.  “It may not withstand the scrutiny of the courts in the absence of legislation.”

Why the Underwear Bomber Picked Detroit

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel

DETROIT — Why Detroit?

The Associated Press reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, dubbed the “underwear bomber”, thought about blowing up a plane above Houston or Chicago on Christmas day in 2009, but the ticket to Detroit was cheaper.

The AP reported that he considered Houston, where he had gone to school. Instead, he chose a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Northwest Airlines. The bomb never detonated, and he now faces trial in Detroit.

Detroiters, who are often sensitive about the city’s image, won’t be flattered by this latest revelation.

New Guidelines Make it Easier to Get on Terror Watch List

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Depending on who’s talking, the good news or the bad is that it now takes only one credible tip to put someone on the U.S. terrorist watch list.

The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima writes that following  the failed terrorist attempt last Christmas by “Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aboard a Christmas day flight to Detroit, the government has made it easier to put someone on the list, relying on just one credible tip.

Abdulmtuallab, embarrassingly, was not on the list even after his father warned U.S. authorities that his son had been radicalized in Yemen and might pose a threat.

The Post reports that civil liberties groups say the new standard can lead to even more people being placed on the list who don’t belong there and pose no danger to the public.

“They are secret lists with no way for people to petition to get off or even to know if they’re on,” Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Post.

To read more click here.


Feds Add International Terrorism Charge Against Underwear Bomber

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel

The feds have added a new international terrorism charge in a superseding indictment filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit against the Christmas Day “Underwear Bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Under the amended indictment, Abdulmutallab is now charged with conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries. That charge comes on top of previous ones including allegations that he used a weapon of mass destruction.

The new charge alleges that he conspired with others and he went to “Yemen for the purpose of becoming involved in violent “jihad” on behalf of al Qaeda.”

“In preparation for a suicide attack, defendant Abdulmutallab practiced detonating explosive devices similar to one which he later received for an attack on a U.S. airliner,” the indictment said.

Several weeks ago, he fired his court-appointed attorneys and told the judge he wanted to represent himself.

Law enforcement sources said it’s unlikely he’ll get any break in sentencing by pleading guilty considering that he was caught in the act as a number of witnesses looked on.

Underwear Bomber to Appear in Fed Court in Detroit

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

UPDATE,  Thurs. 2:30 p.m. — Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab made a brief appearance Thursday and said he was happy representing himself, and didn’t think it was necessary for the prosecutors to share evidence with his stand-by counsel, the Detroit News reported. The judge said she was overriding him on the sharing of evidence. A pretrial conference was set for Jan. 12.

By Allan Lengel

The Nigerian “Underwear Bomber” is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a pretrial hearing — minus his defense team from the Federal Defenders Office that he fired.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will represent himself but will have his standby counsel, Anthony Chambers, in case he needs legal advice. Chambers is a former federal defender who is in private practice.

Abdulmutallab indicated recently he might be willing to plead guilty to some charges. He was arrested after trying to blow up a Detroit bound plane on Christmas day with explosives in his underwear.