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Grand jury indicts accused airline bomber on six counts in attack

Grand jury indicts accused airline bomber on six counts in attack

A U.S. grand jury has indicted Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on six counts in an alleged plot to bomb a passenger jet on Christmas Day.

The charges against Abdulmutallab, 23, include attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison, attempted murder, and willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft.

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Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb made from explosives PETN and TATP as Northwest Flight 253 was descending into Detroit en route from Amsterdam. There were 279 passengers and 11 crew on board. The flight landed safely after passengers and crew subdued him.

“The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life,” Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Pennsylvania Supreme Court releases new congressional map 36 people who could challenge Trump in 2020 MORE said in a statement. “This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool -- military or judicial -- available to our government.”

“The attempted murder of 289 innocent people merits the most serious charges available, and that’s what we have charged in this indictment,” added Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The White House will publicly disclose an unclassified report Thursday detailing what led to the near-takedown of the plane on Christmas Day. The review, ordered by President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaOvernight Energy: Dems ask Pruitt to justify first-class travel | Obama EPA chief says reg rollback won't stand | Ex-adviser expects Trump to eventually rejoin Paris accord Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand Ex-US ambassador: Mueller is the one who is tough on Russia MORE and compiled by deputy national security adviser John Brennan, comes one day after Obama said he will "not tolerate" human and systemic failures like the one that allowed a would-be terrorist onto the Detroit-bound flight.

Capitol Hill Republicans quickly decried the Obama administration’s decision to prosecute Abdulmutallab in civilian court rather than turn him over to military custody and declare him an enemy combatant. Critics argue that by bringing Abdulmutallab before a judge and allowing him to face charges, the administration is missing an opportunity to interrogate him more thoroughly.

“We have learned the hard way that trying terrorists in federal court comes at a high price, from losing out on potentially life-saving intelligence to compromising our sources and methods,” Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), the ranking member of the intelligence committee, said in a statement. “We must treat these terrorists as what they are — not common criminals, but enemy combatants in a war.”


White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has said that Abdulmutallab spent “a number of hours” with FBI investigators who gleaned “actionable intelligence.” Administration officials have said that Abdulmutallab cooperated with FBI interrogators for several hours until he shut down Christmas night.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinLawmakers feel pressure on guns Feinstein: Trump must urge GOP to pass bump stock ban Florida lawmakers reject motion to consider bill that would ban assault rifles MORE’s office (D-Calif.), who chairs the intelligence committee, and Judiciary Commtitee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Popular bill to fight drug prices left out of budget deal Judiciary Dems want public hearings with Kushner, Trump Jr. MORE (D-Vt.) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans have railed against the administration’s decision to prosecute Abdulmutallab in civilian courts because, they argue, it would afford him far greater constitutional and procedural rights, such as the right to remain silent, and obtain counsel quickly.

“Comparing the right to counsel of a criminal in an American federal court to a terrorist in the military commission process doesn’t pass the laugh test,” remarked a Senate GOP aide. “…The military commission process is not about denying justice, but instead is about securing life-saving intelligence and protecting our sources and methods.”


This story was updated at 5:45 p.m.