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Entries in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (2)

Friday
Feb102012

New Details About Unrepentant ‘Underwear’ Bomber Released

U.S. Marshals Service via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- ‘Underwear’ bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was obsessed with radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar Awlaki, and embarked on a pilgrimage to Yemen to seek him out in 2009.  During that time he met with senior al Qaeda leaders and became a hardened terrorist who went on a mission to kill 289 people during his attempted Christmas Day attack in 2009.

Court papers filed before Abdulmutallab’s sentencing next Thursday reveal new details about his links to Awlaki, who had emerged as a key figure within Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  The report lays out in fascinating detail how Abdulmutallab came to his mission and why the Yemeni-American cleric was deemed so dangerous the U.S. government would hunt him down and kill him in a U.S. attack involving drones and military jets in September 2011.

For years, Abdulmutallab had been following the fiery radical’s online teachings of Awlaki. A psychological evaluation by Dr. Simon Perry, also released on Friday noted that Abdulmutallab was familiar with all of Awlaki’s lectures, saying, “They were an important motivator which led [Abdulmutallab] to decide to participate in jihad.  He began listening to the lectures in 2005 and reading Aulaqi’s writings, which motivated him to accept martyrdom.”

In August 2009, Abdulmutallab left Dubai, where he had been taking graduate courses, and sought out Awlaki in Yemen. Abdulmutallab was not to be denied. “Defendant visited mosques and asked people he met if they knew how he could meet Awlaki. Eventually, defendant made contact with an individual who made contact for him.”

“Thereafter, defendant received a text message from Awlaki telling defendant to call him, which defendant did,” the government memo discloses.

During the phone call, Awlaki asked that Abdulmutallab provide in writing the reasons he wanted to participate in violent jihad. After working on his response over the next three days Abdulmutallab was finally granted a meeting with Awlaki.

“Defendant was picked up and driven through the Yemeni desert. He eventually arrived at Awlaki’s house, and stayed there for three days. During that time, defendant met with Awlaki and the two men discussed martyrdom and jihad,” the sentencing memo notes.

“Defendant left Awlaki’s house, and was taken to another house, where he met AQAP bomb-maker Ibrahim Al Asiri. Defendant and Al Asiri discussed defendant’s desire to commit an act of jihad. Thereafter, Al Asiri discussed a plan for a martyrdom mission with Awlaki, who gave it final approval, and instructed defendant Abdulmutallab on it,” prosecutors noted.

The government filing also discloses that at an AQAP training camp Abdulmutallab met with Samir Khan a U.S. citizen who fled to Yemen and wrote the online English-language magazine Inspire dedicated to violent jihad and how-to ideas on terrorist attacks. Khan was also killed in the U.S. strike along with Awlaki.

Leading up to the attempted attack, the government’s memo noted that the bomb-maker personally gave Abdulmutallab the underwear bomb, and that Awalki “arranged for a professional film crew to film the [martyrdom] video. Awlaki assisted defendant in writing his martyrdom statement, and it was filmed over a period of two to three days.”

Noting his operational control over Abdulmutallab, the memo notes, “Although Awlaki gave defendant operational flexibility, Awlaki instructed defendant that the only requirements were that the attack be on a U.S. airliner, and that the attack take place over U.S. soil. Beyond that, Awlaki gave defendant discretion to choose the flight and date. “The government is requesting five life sentences for Abdulmutallab and is also asking that the judge release an FBI videotape showing a model of the underwear bomb and of an explosion with the same amount of explosive Abdulmutallab had in the bomb.

“Since [Abdulmutallab's] motivation to commit martyrdom appears to be great, I believe there is high probability that given the opportunity, he would try once again to commit an act of martyrdom, endangering his and other innocent lives,” Dr. Perry’s assessment noted.

Abdulmutallab traveled from Yemen to Africa via Ethiopia to Ghana to Nigeria before he flew to Amsterdam, where he boarded the flight  bound for Detroit. FBI officials believe that Abdulmutallab was wearing the device for much of his travels, and that moisture or the explosives becoming loose prevented the device from fully exploding.

The sentencing hearing is set for 1 p.m. on Feb. 16.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov102010

Awlaki: ‘The Most Dangerous Man in The World’

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Anwar Awlaki, not Osama Bin Laden, was labeled the "most dangerous man in the world" by a New York Police Department counterterror official during a briefing Wednesday.

The description of the U.S. born, Yemen-based cleric and al Qaeda recruiter came as British officials announced that forensic evidence shows at least one of the two printer bombs shipped from Yemen by al Qaeda could have blown up over the eastern U.S. as they were brought by cargo plane to Chicago.

The bombs, which were placed inside toner cartridges, were shipped on FedEx and UPS cargo flights to Chicago addresses late last month. In a statement by London police, however, authorities now believe the bomb that was discovered in the United Kingdom was intended to explode mid air, while the plane carrying it was somewhere over the eastern seaboard of the US.

"Forensic examination has indicated that if the device had activated it would have been at 10:30 hours BST (0930 GMT) on Friday, 29 October 2010," London police said in their statement, meaning the bomb would have detonated at 5:30 a.m. "If the device had not been removed from the aircraft the activation could have occurred over the eastern seaboard of the U.S."

At a briefing on the parcel bombs and on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni al Qaeda affiliate that claimed credit for the bombing, Lt. Kevin Yorke of the NYPD's Intelligence Division, said of AQAP operative Awlaki, "If you look at his terrorist resume for the things he's been involved with you can really call him the most dangerous man in the world."

Awlaki, an AQAP operative, has been linked to many plots against U.S. citizens, including last year's Ft. Hood shooting and the attempted Christmas Day "underwear" bombing of Northwest flight 253. Earlier this week, Awlaki released a video statement saying that no one needs special religious permission to kill Americans because they are "devils" and the "enemy."

Earlier this year, President Obama signed a directive ordering that Awlaki -- a dual U.S.-Yemeni citizen -- be killed by the CIA or military Special. Awlaki's father, a former Yemeni diplomat, has sued the U.S. government to prevent the order from being followed, claiming that the directive violates his son's due process rights under the Constitution. There is a hearing on the suit in Washington this afternoon.

Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, had long been of interest to American law enforcement authorities because of his apparent ties to several of the 9/11 hijackers. When he returned to Yemen several years ago after living in the U.S. and the U.K., intelligence authorities say he became an operative for AQAP.

Efforts to locate Awlaki intensified last year after the Ft. Hood shooting, which left 13 dead. Army Major Nidal Hasan, charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder in the case, was in email contact with Awlaki before the shooting, and Awlaki later publicly praised Hasan for the rampage.
After the attempted "underwear" bombing of Northwest flight 253 over Detroit last Christmas, authorities said suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had trained in Yemen and had been in contact with Awlaki. Shortly after the attempted underwear bomb, the White House authorized the lethal order on Awlaki.

Awlaki's stature in AQAP, first as a radical preacher, then as an operational figure, has made the cleric as wanted by U.S. forces as Osama bin Laden. According to one former official, the Obama White House has told governments in the Middle East that they are desperate to kill Awlaki.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio