Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Terrorism Attempt: Man Tries to Ignite Device on Detroit-bound Jet (Christmas, 2009)

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
    Registered
    May 2008
    Location
    North America
    Posts
    1,773

    Terrorism Attempt: Man Tries to Ignite Device on Detroit-bound Jet (Christmas, 2009)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/26/us/26plane.html?hp
    Excerpts:
    A Nigerian man tried to ignite an explosive device aboard a trans-Atlantic Northwest Airlines flight as the plane prepared to land in Detroit on Friday, in an incident the United States believes was “an attempted act of terrorism,” according to a White House official who declined to be identified.

    The device, described by officials as a mixture of powder and liquid, failed to fully detonate. Passengers on the plane described a series of pops that sounded like firecrackers.
    . . .

    The incident is likely to lead to heightened security during the busy holiday season.

    It was unclear how the man, identified by federal officials as Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, managed to get the explosive on the plane, an Airbus A330 wide-body jet carrying 278 passengers that departed from Amsterdam with passengers who had originated in Nigeria. A senior administration official said that the government did not yet know whether the man had had the capacity to take down the plane.
    . . .

    A senior Department of Homeland Security official said that the materials Mr. Abdulmutallab had on him were “more incendiary than explosive,” and that he had tried to ignite them to cause a fire as the airliner was approaching Detroit.

    Mr. Abdulmutallab told law enforcement authorities, the official said, that he had had explosive powder taped to his leg and that he had used a syringe of chemicals to mix with the powder to try to cause an explosion.

    A federal counterterrorism official who asked not to be identified said Mr. Abdulmutallab was apparently in a government law enforcement-intelligence data base, but it is not clear what extremist group or individuals he might be linked to.

    . . . Although Mr. Abdulmutallab is said to have told officials that he was directed by Al Qaeda, the counterterrorism official expressed caution about that claim, saying “it may have been aspirational.”


    The incident unfolded just before noon. Syed Jafry, a passenger on the flight sitting three rows ahead of the suspect, said “there was a pop that sounded like a firecracker. A few seconds later, he said, there was smoke and “some glow” from the suspect’s seat. from three rows behind him and on the left side of the plane.

    “There was a panic,” said Mr. Jafry, 57, of Holland, Ohio. “Next thing you know everybody was on him.” He said the passengers and the crew subdued the man.

    The suspect was brought by the crew to the front of the plane — Northwest Airlines flight 253, operated on a Delta airplane — made its descent into Detroit Metropolitan Airport, landing at 11:53 a.m. (The two airlines merged last year.) Once on the ground, it was immediately guided to the end of a runway, where it was surrounded by police cars and emergency vehicles and searched by a bomb-disabling robot.

    Sandra Berchtold, a spokeswoman with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Detroit office, said F.B.I. agents were at the scene Friday night and were investigating the matter.

    One federal official who requested anonymity said Mr. Abdulmutallab had suffered severe burns but was expected to survive. A Michigan state official confirmed that he was being treated at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor.

    President Obama was kept informed throughout the day as he spent the Christmas holiday with his family and friends at a secluded Hawaiian beach house. After a secure conference call, he was given several follow-up briefings on paper. John O. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief, convened an interagency meeting in the late afternoon to go over what was known about the incident and what precautions should be taken.

    A second Department of Homeland Security official said the Transportation Security Administration used layers of security measures at the nation’s airports and that it would be tightening them as a result of the incident in Detroit.

    These measures — some visible to passengers, some not — include bomb-sniffing dog teams, carry-on luggage and passenger screening measures, and plainclothes behavioral-detection specialists inside airport terminals. The official said there were no immediate plans to elevate the nation’s threat level, which has been at orange since 2006.
    . . .

    There are no direct commercial flights between the United States and Nigeria, and questions have been raised for years about aviation security in Nigeria. Last month, however, the T.S.A. said that standards at the Lagos airport met international criteria for security.
    . . .

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Northwestern Ohio
    Posts
    9,327
    About a month or so ago this Bear read a novel by Richard North Patterson. The title of this novel was Eclipse. Patterson invented a coastal African country called Luandia, very obviously based on present-day Nigeria. Included in the book were references and descriptions of the influence of terrorist organizations in Luandia (Nigeria).

    After reading the novel I spent some time researching Nigeria. Not surprised that the Christmas Day terrorist is from that country.

    Certainly happy that the Christmas Day event turned-out the way it did. It could have been a horrible tragedy.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    I think that's the same guy that keeps emailing me for my bank routing and account info so he can safetly get his money back...

  4. #4
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,460
    Quote Originally posted by Chet View post
    I think that's the same guy that keeps emailing me for my bank routing and account info so he can safetly get his money back...
    Yeah, he sends those to me at work all the time (but never at home--thanks gmail). I bet we receive fewer of them now.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Back in SE Texas
    Posts
    1,658
    While it is understandable that security will be tightened at airports here in the US, the $64,000 question is why didn't Dutch security find this in Amsterdam? Seems to me like it was the Dutch who dropped the ball on this.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Wishing I were in Asia somewhere!
    Posts
    9,657
    Blog entries
    5
    Quote Originally posted by rcgplanner View post
    While it is understandable that security will be tightened at airports here in the US, the $64,000 question is why didn't Dutch security find this in Amsterdam? Seems to me like it was the Dutch who dropped the ball on this.
    Not so much. I am going to say that it was the U.S. that dropped the ball. The man's own family had reported him to the U.S. Embassy and Nigerian Security Service about six months ago because they were increasingly alarmed at his extremist viewpoints. Additionally, the man was on the TIDE list which is a database of terrorists or people linked to terrorism. Despite this he was able to obtain a U.S. visa and board two flights to get here. Despite being in the TIDE database the man was not on the no-fly list though and there was no air marshal on this flight either.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
    Registered
    May 2004
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan (Detroit ex-pat since 2004)
    Posts
    4,754

    Don't even think it!

    For those coming up with a punch line, Metro Airport is located in the city of Romulus, 22 miles west.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...,0.791016&z=11

    Plotted from City Hall.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,166
    And the other airport isn't at Amsterdam, it's at Schiphol.



    Mike

  9. #9
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heaven or Las Vegas
    Posts
    916
    Apparently the guy stayed on the plane there and didn't go through security again in Amsterdam. The Lagos, Nigeria airport is known for having security that does not meet US standards. Its interesting to see that other passengers are much more bold now, taking the initiative to pounce on someone like this.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater View post
    Apparently the guy stayed on the plane there and didn't go through security again in Amsterdam. The Lagos, Nigeria airport is known for having security that does not meet US standards. Its interesting to see that other passengers are much more bold now, taking the initiative to pounce on someone like this.


    That's something else I noticed. Same thing happened in the Richard Reid incident, as well as the now-infamous United 93. There are a lot of things to criticize America for, and I know that in the past I have been awfully critical of this country and its people, but one thing that is most commendable in my opinion is the fact that after 9/11 nobody just lets anything happen on the plane anymore. We will take you down if at all possible. Ordinary Americans have played a direct role in foiling terrorist plots, and for that I am most proud.



    Quote Originally posted by Veloise
    For those coming up with a punch line, Metro Airport is located in the city of Romulus, 22 miles west.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...,0.791016&z=11

    Plotted from City Hall.


    It's interesting you say that. One question I've heard reporters ask is why Detroit? Does Detroit have any signifcance? I would surmise no, based on what I have heard reported. From what we're hearing now, he boarded the flight in Lagos but did not deplane in Amsterdam because this was a regularly scheduled direct flight to the United States (Detroit) from Nigeria. It's a known fact that airport security in Nigeria is quite lax compared to either the United States or the EU countries..............I think his plan was simply to board a flight in Nigeria where the security would not have detected whatever his "device" was, and stay on board the plane until he got to the United States. By boarding a flight with direct service from Nigeria to the U.S., he never had to go through security anywhere in the Western world where his plot might've been foiled.

    I could be wrong, but I don't imagine that there are a whole lot of direct flights from Lagos to anywhere in the U.S. If Northwest Airlines just happens to run this direct route from Lagos to Detroit via Amsterdam, then for him that works because Detroit is an American city, but I think that's about as much significance as the city has in terms of it being a target. It just so happens that NWA runs a direct route to the U.S. from Nigeria, and it just so happens that NWA has an international hub at Detroit that handles most (if not all) of the airline's transatlantic flights. So for anyone who was seeking a punch line or another reason to somehow knock the city, yeah that's my personal theory - that Detroit just happened to be the most convenient city for him to carry out this plot simply because that's where the airplanes in his home country eventually end up. And the fact that Detroit's an American city. Other than that, no significance in my opinion.
    Last edited by Jazzman; 26 Dec 2009 at 9:16 PM.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    That's something else I noticed. Same thing happened in the Richard Reid incident, as well as the now-infamous United 93. There are a lot of things to criticize America for, and I know that in the past I have been awfully critical of this country and its people, but one thing that is most commendable in my opinion is the fact that after 9/11 nobody just lets anything happen on the plane anymore. We will take you down if at all possible. Ordinary Americans have played a direct role in foiling terrorist plots, and for that I am most proud.
    True indeed, though it looks like it was a Dutch guy who was the main hero in this incident:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...a115733S53.DTL
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    True indeed, though it looks like it was a Dutch guy who was the main hero in this incident:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...a115733S53.DTL


    Fair enough. But remember radical Islamic extremists often target Westerners in general, not just the U.S. (although we do seem to be their primary target and there are specific actions that the U.S. has done or does that may incite more focused hatred towards this country).

    At the end of the day, I don't care if it's the guy's next door neighbor. As long as SOMEBODY stops him.................and ultimately the point is that people (of any nationality) are not allowing this crap to take place. They're willing to risk their lives and the lives of everyone else in order to thwart off a potential terrorist attack, which most likely is designed to kill not just them but people on the ground as well.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    Fair enough. But remember radical Islamic extremists often target Westerners in general, not just the U.S. (although we do seem to be their primary target and there are specific actions that the U.S. has done or does that may incite more focused hatred towards this country).
    For sure. I just think we, as Americans, spend far too much time worrying about terrorism on airplanes (not to mention the absurd amounts of money spent on "security" and the massive new federal bureaucracy known as the TSA - we'll never be able to dismantle or downsize that agency, think of the jobs lost!). We did one important thing after 9/11 to secure our skies from terrorists - we installed cockpit doors that can't be forced open by passengers. The rest is fluff to make us feel safe, IMO. Attentive passengers can take care of the rest, just as can happen on buses, trains, boats, in buildings, etc.

    In 2004, I accidentally carried a six inch long pair of scissors on more than ten flights before it was found (it was inside a travel first aid kit that I never bothered opening to see exactly what was inside). It was finally found in the security line at the Lima, Peru airport. It made it through security at SFO, LAX, SLC, SEA, ATL, and LAS, most of them multiple times.

    I found this interesting:

    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/...ne-terror.html
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Heaven or Las Vegas
    Posts
    916
    In 2004, I accidentally carried a six inch long pair of scissors on more than ten flights before it was found
    That reminds me of a flight from Philly to Portland OR I took in 2004. Once we were all seated and ready to leave, there was a long delay. The crew then informed us that we all had to de-plane and go through security again. It turned out that one passenger realized he had nail clippers with him, and apparently his Catholic/Jewish/Protestant/what-have-you guilt got the better of him and he told a flight attendant. What could have been going through his mind? That a terrorist would start looking through baggage, find his nail clippers, and take over the plane? So they marched the group of us back to security surrounded by a cadre of security personnel so we (presumably) couldn't interact with any accomplices or throw weapons in the trash. The delay took the flight out of place in the runway cue, so we sat out there on the tarmac for a while. I missed the connection in Phoenix and had to sleep on the floor there.

    To think this Nigerian guy could have succeeded if he had hidden the liquids in his clothes and ignited it in the restroom is quite sobering.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by CJC
    For sure. I just think we, as Americans, spend far too much time worrying about terrorism on airplanes (not to mention the absurd amounts of money spent on "security" and the massive new federal bureaucracy known as the TSA - we'll never be able to dismantle or downsize that agency, think of the jobs lost!). We did one important thing after 9/11 to secure our skies from terrorists - we installed cockpit doors that can't be forced open by passengers. The rest is fluff to make us feel safe, IMO. Attentive passengers can take care of the rest, just as can happen on buses, trains, boats, in buildings, etc.

    I hate to sound like a fear-mongering Fox News talking head, but this Nigerian guy (as well as the shoe bomber Richard Reid) could've brought down planes as well as killed people on the ground without going near the cockpit by igniting their "devices" in the main cabin. No need to attack/kill the pilot or gain access of the aircraft, you just need to bring it down.

    I must admit, however, that I'm surprised Al-Qaida keeps trying to attack airplanes considering the fact that everybody expects a terrorist to strike there. But then again I guess considering the fact that we apparently have lax security standards at airports throughtout the Western world, why wouldn't they?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,689
    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    I hate to sound like a fear-mongering Fox News talking head, but this Nigerian guy (as well as the shoe bomber Richard Reid) could've brought down planes as well as killed people on the ground without going near the cockpit by igniting their "devices" in the main cabin. No need to attack/kill the pilot or gain access of the aircraft, you just need to bring it down.
    Right, but how is that different from blowing up a bus, which veers off a highway and hits other things? Or derailing a train? Or driving a boat into a pier? I just think that we made the fix to make sure that planes couldn't be used as missles, and the rest is just impossible for us to realistically control, no matter how much security or money we throw at it. I know it sounds harsh, but some type of cost-benefit analysis has to be done at some point in time (for money, time, and well, liberty). You can only protect so much.

    I must admit, however, that I'm surprised Al-Qaida keeps trying to attack airplanes considering the fact that everybody expects a terrorist to strike there. But then again I guess considering the fact that we apparently have lax security standards at airports throughtout the Western world, why wouldn't they?
    Terrorism is first and foremost intended to hurt in psychological ways. They go after planes because we spend so much time and effort on making sure that planes are safe. If they can make us feel unsafe at doing something that we exert so much effort to make safe, they succeed in terrorizing us more so than if they just attacked something random. It's not really about body count, it's about fear.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    the rest is just impossible for us to realistically control, no matter how much security or money we throw at it.

    You may be right.

  18. #18
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2004
    Location
    on my 15 minute break
    Posts
    17,748
    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    It's interesting you say that. One question I've heard reporters ask is why Detroit? Does Detroit have any signifcance?
    About the only thing I can figure is that the metro area does have the highest concentration of Muslims in the US (Dearborn, actually). So maybe the thing was a badly miscalculated 'call to arms brothers'. Thing is, the local Chaldean population is not of the fundamentalist ilk. They tend to be mostly political refugees from the Saddam years.
    Last edited by Maister; 28 Dec 2009 at 9:00 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    About the only thing I can figure is that the metro area does have the highest concentration of Muslims in the US (Dearborn, actually). So maybe the thing was a badly miscalculated 'call to arms brothers'. Thing is, the local Chaldean population is not of the fundamentalist ilk. They tend to be mostly political refugees from the Saddam years.


    I know, but other American cities also have large Arab and/or Muslim populations (Minneapolis, for example). Again, I think in this case Detroit simply has the "misfortune" (for lack of a better term) of being an international hub for a major airline that runs a lot of flights between the U.S. and Europe.

    Let me also take time to correct myself - in one of the earlier posts in this thread I said that reports indicated that he did not deplane in Amsterdam and thus was able to board the flight in Nigeria without having to go through screening again until he reached the U.S. (Detroit). Turns out I was wrong, he did in fact disembark and go through security in Amsterdam before boarding another flight to Detroit.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Posts
    2
    A country that is trying to change is image from fraud corruption and all this things now has another story of a fool that is putting that same image on the line...he was staying in london for years....why didnt he use the UK passport, the population in nigeria that are not involved in all this internet crime, corruption and terrorism are suffering discrimination even more that the freaking talibans themselves.....whatever

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Cyburbia on your mobile device
    Cyburbia Issues and Help
    Replies: 5
    Last post: 19 Jul 2014, 1:22 PM
  2. Recording device for meetings
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 4
    Last post: 12 Mar 2010, 8:56 AM
  3. Christmas 2009
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 29
    Last post: 28 Dec 2009, 1:59 PM
  4. Replies: 19
    Last post: 10 Apr 2007, 12:44 PM
  5. Replies: 8
    Last post: 08 Jun 2006, 10:03 PM