On December 25th, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian tried to detonate an explosive aboard a Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit in the United States of America. As the son of one of Nigeria’s most prominent businessmen and someone who had access to international travel and a world-class education, his terrorist act took Nigeria by surprise.
Umar has since been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. However, the FBI has recently revealed the reason why the explosives failed to go off.
During his trial he said the bomb in his underwear was a ‘blessed weapon’ to avenge poorly treated Muslims around the world.
Two FBI agents told WXYZ TV that Umar confessed to the plot, saying that he had worn the explosive underwear for three weeks in order to get used to it and make sure he could get it through security.
“So basically for three weeks he wore this garment, these underwear with this device in it. We think ultimately that is probably what caused the disruption in the sequence of events in the explosion,” said FBI agent Ted Peissig.
The agents also revealed that Umar was not recruited by al Qaeda, but the other way around.
“He sought out al Qaeda relentlessly,” another FBI agent on the case, Mike Connelly said. “He persisted and he was almost turned away at times, you know, by al Qaeda. But he refused to relent.”
FBI agents also say the Underwear Bomber might have inadvertently foiled his own plot because of his obsession about making sure the bomb would not be detected. They further revealed that he had been instructed to detonate the bomb over a populated area to maximize the death toll.
Here is the account of the FBI agents as reported by WXYZ TV
In Abdulmutallab’s mind it was an act of martyrdom and jihad. He had no feelings for the men, women and children around him who were about die, according to the FBI agents.
“He did not bat an eye in saying if that plane was going to go down, it was going to go down. That was God’s call. That wasn’t his call. His responsibility was just to detonate the bomb, and whatever happened, happened,” says agent Connelly.
As the huge jumbo jet carrying over 300 people was approaching Detroit, Abulmutallab disappeared into the restroom to wash himself, a ritual for his passage into the next life. When he returned to his seat he told the guy sitting next to him that he wasn’t feeling well.
“And pulled a blanket almost completely concealing himself up to the chin,” says Agent Peissig.
Using a plastic syringe, Abdulmutallab injected a mixture of liquids and solids into the explosive chemicals already packed into his underwear.
But Instead of exploding, the bomb burst into flames, setting his clothes and the blanket on fire, seriously burning him.
The two agents who visited Nigeria during the course of his investigation said they extracted detailed and chilling information about Abdulmutallab and his mission, getting a rare glimpse into the mind of a suicide bomber.
“In his tone, his conversation, he’s very reserved,” adds agent Connelly. “He’s deliberate in his speech.”
“The witnesses remarked about how he just looked like a simple young school boy,” says Peissig.
But appearances don’t match reality in the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Agents say he was an extreme fanatic and a very dangerous man.
He was hell-bent on taking down a jumbo jet over Detroit with no consideration for the hundreds who would die in the plane and on the ground.
“He is completely different from any terrorist that I’ve had the ability to talk to,” explains Connelly. “Different because of his absolute devotion to Jihad. The degree of conviction that he had to the cause is unparalleled.”