Lawyers and federal prosecutors are handling the evidence being used in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s trial with strict confidentiality.
While some say his views on Islam were considered to be within the mainstream, Abdulmutallab has also been described by some friends and acquaintances as being opaque and unknowable.
Experts have uncovered puzzling character traits and interests as their investigation of how and when he was radicalized moves forward. They have also discovered an interesting path of world travel, and now know that he pursued relationships with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and al-Qaida operatives, from the time he was in London until he boarded the flight to Detroit strapped with explosives.
Abdulmutallab was allegedly stone-faced and unemotional during his court hearing this week on six terrorism-related charges. He said he took painkillers before court.
His lawyer stated he would not be applying for bail.
Congressman Mike Hoffman (R-Colo) joined 10 other Republicans on Capitol Hill to request the removal of Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary on the heels of the Abdulmutallab attack on Christmas Day.
“There should be no tolerance for her lack of leadership,” the letter from the lawmakers read. “…it is imperative that you dismiss her immediately.”
Before Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen to train with al-Qaida and wrote off his family, tensions existed with his father over his alleged “immoral, un-Islamic ” choices to become a wealthy banker. This is apparently a common struggle in Kaduna, Nigeria, where Abdulmutallab was raised. He also spent a lot of time unsupervised, a common issue in wealthy Nigerian families, and was exposed to the radical ideas that circulate the region.
Researchers also note his loneliness and isolation as a factor in his radicalization. “He is a total teetotaler,” said Adulmutallab’s uncle. “He doesn’t do what his peers used to do. He is always indoors reading his Quran.”
By the time he reached University College London, the transformation to radical Islam had occurred. “He had changed; he was saying ‘Islam, Islam, Islam;’ Aminu Baba-Ahmed says.
The army and officers at Walter Reed Hospital apparently missed warning signs of radicalization in Major Hasan, according to a military review concluded on Friday.
“It is clear that as a department, we have not done enough to adapt to the evolving domestic-internal security threat to American troops and military facilities that has emerged over the past decade. In this area, as in so many others, the department is burdened by 20th century processes and attitudes, mostly rooted in the Cold War,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the press.
The army has an idea of who missed what, and intends to take action against the individuals and hold them responsible for lapses in judgment on Hasan’s behavior.
Communication breakdowns in the FBI and Pentagon also led to a failure to act upon Major Hasan’s contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, who has been implicated as a player in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s radicalization case as well.
According to US intelligence, al-Qaida has restructured its network, gained support in Britain, and increased its capability to carry out attacks on the West.
The US now believes major threats pervade the UK as a result of this increased support. Two years ago an estimated 2000 sympathizers operated in Britain. Experts say the number is growing all the time. They refer to it as “Londonistan.”
This editorial claims that despite the changes that have been made to airport security since 9/11, an effective system has yet to be developed.
The writer lauds Israeli airport security, which focuses on human guards who conduct face to face interviews with suspiciously-behaving people. A question on outdated CIA intelligence practices is also explored.
In the wake of criticism of the ways she handled the Christmas Day would-be bomber Abdulmutallab, Janet Napolitano discusses the Department of Homeland Security’s plans to respond.
Abdulmutallab and al-Qaida apparently chose to attack Detroit at random, a White House intelligence briefing revealed last week. “There is no evidence that Detroit was systematically targeted. It was just one of several options the bomber suspect had,” says Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton).
Congressional hearings on the Abdulmutallab Christmas Day plot will begin next week, with a focus on preventing the next attack.