He was even on a terrorism watch list.
So how did Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the Nigerian man suspected of plotting to blow up a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit get so close to fulfilling his goal?
Despite the fact that the 23-year-old managed to get on board the flight, the Obama administration insist that their security measures worked. But not everyone agrees.
“The fact that the bomber was able to evade current safety restrictions shows how, regardless of security, determined terrorists will manage to circumvent even the most rigorous procedures applied in airports,” says this piece.
The Washington Examiner feels that the US has taken its eye off the ball.
“U.S. officials have now been twice fooled by terrorists preparing and conducting attacks while hiding in plain sight. Just as Abdulmutallab’s radical views were known, so were those of U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood earlier this year. This suggests that there has been a breakdown in the U.S. intelligence network. But there is an even more worrisome possible explanation here — a lessening of focus by intelligence officials who fear being prosecuted for doing whatever is necessary to protect the American people. “
Should other countries be doing more? Can this be expected to be just a one-off event or should Nigeria be showing greater concern about its potential as a breeding ground for radicals? asks this blog.
“Face it,” says one comment in this forum. “The terrorists are always one step ahead”.
The papers and blogs have been full of people blaming “radicals” for turning him towards terrorism, security officials for not stopping him, airport staff for not searching him properly – but how much reponsibility does the would-be bomber accept ?