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Why did US let Abdulmutallab get on a plane to Detroit?

The father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab says he told US officials months ago that his son might be a terrorist threat. Some lawmakers say the Obama administration missed the warning signs – just as it did before the Fort Hood attack.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the Detroit bound Delta Airlines plane on Christmas day, is shown in this undated photograph released on December 26.

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano insisted Sunday that there was no “specific and credible” information to put the alleged attempted bomber of Northwest Flight 253, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, on the federal “no fly” list.

Yet for the second time in a month, the Obama administration finds itself defending its lack of action against a suspect whose tendencies toward radical Islam had been reported to authorities.

The cases are, of course, different.

Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is the only suspect in the attack that killed 13 people at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, was an American being tracked for corresponding with a known Al Qaeda sympathizer. Colleagues had also raised questions about his increasingly militant beliefs.

Mr. Abdulmutallab, by contrast, came to the attention of authorities only when his father went to the US Embassy in Nigeria and warned officials about his son’s growing radicalization. On Friday, Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted – and failed – to set off a homemade explosive as Flight 253 neared the Detroit airport.


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