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Al Qaeda on a plane

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 28, 2009 | 12:14 am

About the failure of that suspected terror attack on a Christmas Day flight. Religion as usual is front and center. In fact, the suspect got onto a terror watch list only last week—after a tip from his father:

The suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was added to a catch-all terrorism-related database when his father, a Nigerian banker, reported concerns about his son’s “radicalization and associations” to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, a senior administration official said.

That’s a serious move by a parent. (Reminds me of the reaction I got when I asked the father of homeless poker pro Ellix Powers for his thoughts on his son’s career.)

Now questions have arisen as to whether Abdulmutallab was working with Al Qaeda or, if just inspired by, “the group’s radicalized ideology has ‘metastasized’ well beyond traditional safe havens.”

According to US media citing unnamed US officials, Abdulmutallab confessed once in custody that he had received specific training for the attack from an Al-Qaeda bombmaker in Yemen.

Al-Qaeda camps in Yemen have been in the crosshairs in recent months, and the White House Thursday reiterated support for authorities there after Yemeni aircraft killed 34 suspected Al-Qaeda members in the country.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stepped in Sunday to say there was “no indication” yet Abdulmutallab had taken his orders from Al-Qaeda or that the attack was part of a broader terror plot.

Experts and lawmakers paint a different story.

Read more about what the talking heads have to say here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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