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Tag: underwear bomber

Underwear Bomber Hasn’t Given Up on Going Free

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — The Nigerian man known as the “Underwear Bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, hasn’t given up the fight to go free.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Thursday heard arguments from his lawyer Travis Rossman, who wants his client’s guilty plea tossed. He wants him to undergo a competency hearing, according to the Associated Press.. He also argued that the punishment — multiple life sentences — was far too harsh considering the only person injured on the Christmas Day flight in 2009 was his 26-year-old client.

The prosecution, as expected, disagreed.

In a court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel wrote:

Abdulmutallab’s four life sentences did not violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The magnitude of his crimes—seeking to kill 289 people on behalf of a violent terrorist organization; his complete lack of remorse, which actually is pride in his mission; and his future dangerousness, make the … life sentences proportional to the crimes. The defendant’s sentences were substantively reasonable for the same reasons.

Exciting Ride for Detroit’s Top FBI Agent Andy Arena

Andy Arena

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — On Christmas day in 2009, Andrew Arena, head of the Detroit FBI, made a beeline to the airport to deal with a young Nigerian man — aka The Underwear Bomber — who tried to blow up an airliner.

“He slipped up and gave us some stuff,” Arena explained of the valuable global terrorism information the bomber gave up during the interrogation. ” I can’t get into because it’s still classified. We exploited a lot… We got some key stuff.”

Arena was directly involved in the decisions about the interrogating the bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — including when to read him the Miranda warning, an issue that would later become a “political football” in Washington.

Some conservative Republicans like Michele Bachman were highly critical, insisting the FBI shouldn’t have read the Miranda warning to a terrorist because it may have stifled the flow of valuable information. Many Democrats defended the FBI and Justice Department, which delayed reading the rights, but ultimately did after six hours. The Obama administration claimed it got plenty of valuable information about the plot and terrorism around the world.

“People used the national security issue for political purposes,” he said of the partisan bickering in Washington. “Yeah, that did bother me.”

In his FBI office on Michigan Avenue in downtown Detroit, Arena, a personable man who speaks fondly of his native Detroit, sat down earlier this month with Deadline Detroit reporter Allan Lengel to discuss his 24-year-career in the FBI, including the last five as head of the Detroit office.

He’s set to retire at the end of the week, on May 31, and take over as director of the newly formed Detroit Crime Commission. The commission, he says, will try unearthing corruption and other crime and try to fill some gaps law enforcement hasn’t been able to address.

To read the full interview click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-TSA Official Says Airport Screeners Would Have Caught Latest Underwear Bomber

file photo

By Mark Strassmann
CBS News

At more than 180 U.S. airports, the Transportation Security Administration increasingly relies on full-body scanners. Their electromagnetic waves screen passengers for dense objects — both metallic and non-metallic threats — from guns to homemade plastic explosives.

Kip Hawley was the TSA administrator in 2007, when the agency rolled out these scanners.

He believes an alert transportation security officer at an airport security checkpoint would have caught the latest underwear bomb, which was revealed Monday had been thwarted by the CIA before it came near an airport.

To read more click here.

 OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Underwear Bomber Avoids More Restrictive Supermax Prison in Colo.

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

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
ticklethewire.com

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.”

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U.S. No Fly List Doubles; Underwear Bomber Appears to Have Contributed to Spike

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The man dubbed the “Underwear Bomber”, who tried blowing up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas day in 2009, may have contributed more to this country than we think.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. no fly list for suspected terrorists has more than doubled in the past year, and the bump seems to coincide with the Underwear Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt to blow up the airplane.

AP reported that the “the flood of new names began after the failed Christmas 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner. The government lowered the standard for putting people on the list, and then scoured its files for anyone who qualified. The government will not disclose who is on its list or why someone might have been placed on it.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

 

‘Underwear Bomber’ Not Entitled to New Lawyer, Govt. Says

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber” who tried to ignite a bomb in his underwear on a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day in 2009, wants a new — preferably Muslim stand-by lawyer — for his upcoming sentencing on Jan. 19, the Detroit Free Press reports. Fed prosecutors are opposed.

“Because defendant represents himself, he has no right to standby counsel, let alone standby counsel of his choice,” federal prosecutors wrote in court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, according to the Free Press. They say he isn’t entitled to one, and granting his demand would delay the hearing which numerous passengers on the Detroit flight have planned to attend and speak at.

Abdulmutallab requested a new lawyer recently for his upcoming January 19 sentencing.

To read more click here.

 

 

Atty. Gen. Holder Holds Up Underwear Bomber Case As a Positive Example of Prosecuting Terrorism in Civilian Courts

Eric Holder Jr./ticklethewire.com file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. took the opportunity  following the guilty plea Wednesday morning of  the “Underwear Bomber” to hold the case up as another example of the success the Justice Department has had prosecuting terrorism cases in civilian courts.

“Contrary to what some have claimed, today’s plea removes any doubt that our courts are one of the most effective tools we have to fight terrorism and keep the American people safe,” Holder said in a statement. “Our priority in this case was to ensure that we arrested a man who tried to do us harm, that we collected actionable intelligence from him and that we prosecuted him in a way that was consistent with the rule of law.”

“We will continue to be aggressive in our fight against terrorism and those who target us, and we will let results, not rhetoric, guide our actions.”

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty to all eight counts on Wednesday in the second day of his terrorism trial in downtown Detroit. He was accused of trying to blow up a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

The statement comes in wake of sharp criticism from Republicans in the past couple years over the Justice Department’s push to prosecute many of the terrorism cases in the civilian courts.

Some Republicans have argued that the cases should be prosecuted in a military court. They’ve also been critical of the FBI reading Miranda warnings to terrorist suspects.

FBI agents read the underwear bomber his rights after questioning him for a while.