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Alleged Detroit airplane bomber charged


Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab was arraigned this afternoon in his Ann Arbor hospital bed and charged with willfully attempting to destroy an aircraft and willfully placing and causing to be placed a destructive device on an aircraft. U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman signed the complaint, which alleges that Mutallab set off something explosive in his pants when he returned from the bathroom as his flight from Amsterdam approached Detroit on Friday.

An FBI affidavit filed with the court said that pentaerythritol (PETN), a plastic explosive, and remnants of a syringe were found on the plane. The syringe may have been used to inject a trigger chemical into the PETN, according to a law enforcement source who spoke to CBS News.

A spokesman for the University of Michigan Health System confirmed that a passenger from Delta Flight 253 was being treated at University Hospital in Ann Arbor, but wouldn’t confirm their identity. Mutallab is said to have been severely burnt. Friday’s Northwest flight from Amsterdam was operated by Delta.

An official familiar with the case told the Associated Press that Mutallab appears on a U.S. National Counterterrorism Center database called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment list (pdf). The list contains over a half-million names of people with known or suspected ties to terrorists or terrorist organizations. Appearing on the TIDE database does not necessarily mean being on the No Fly list, and New York’s Rep. Peter King of the House Homeland Security committee says that Mutallab wasn’t on it.

Authorities are investigating the possibility that Mutallab had al Qaeda ties in his native Nigeria and his mother’s native Yemen which could have been involved in the attack. His father, a former Nigerian official, reportedly approached american authorities with concerns about his son’s “extreme religious views” within the last six months.

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