Washington: There was "no indication" to
suggest that a Nigerian terror suspect was acting as part of a
larger plot when he unsuccessfully attempted to blow up a US
plane midair on the Christmas Day, a top Obama administration
official said on Monday.
"Right now, we have no indication that it is part of
anything larger but, obviously, the investigation continues,
and we have instituted more screening and what we call
`mitigation measures` at airports," US Secretary of Homeland
Security, Janet Napolitano, said to a news channel.
She (rpt) She said it was too early to speculate about
any al Qaeda links to the foiled bombing attempt allegedly by
the Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
"Right now, that is part of the criminal justice
investigation that is ongoing, and I think it would be
inappropriate to speculate as to whether or not he has such
ties," Napolitano said in response to a question.
Abdulmutallab has been charged with "willfully"
attempting to destroy the Amsterdam-Detroit Northwest Flight
carrying 290 people on board and with placing a destructive
device on the aircraft.
The Homeland Secretary said it was being investigated
as to how the terror suspect managed to sneak in the explosive
liquids inside the plane.
"...we are looking at what happened in Amsterdam as he
transferred flights to a US-bound flight. We`ve already been
working with the airport and airline authorities there to see
what kind of screening -- screening equipment was used. We
have no suggestion that he was improperly screened, but we
want to go through and see," she said.
Napolitano said: "...we are looking at what happened
in Amsterdam as he transferred flights to a US-bound flight.
We`ve already been working with the airport and airline
authorities there to see what kind of screening -- screening
equipment was used. We have no suggestion that he was
improperly screened, but we want to go through and see."
She also said the "system worked" on the Christmas Day
when the Nigerian national tried to blow up the Detroit-bound
North West Airlines plane with 279 passengers and 11 crew
The remarks on several US news channels by Janet, the
Homeland Security Secretary, came in for sharp criticism from
eminent opposition lawmakers and security experts who appeared
on various Sunday talk shows.
"One thing I would like to point out is that the
system worked. Everybody played an important role here,?
"The passengers and crew of the flight took
appropriate action. Within, literally an hour to 90 minutes of
the incident occurring, all 128 flights in the air had been
notified to take some special measures in light of what had
occurred on the Northwest Airlines flight," she said.
Senior Republican Congressman Peter King disagreed
with the Homeland Security Secretary.
"The fact is, the system did not work, and we have to
find a bipartisan way to fix it. He made it on the plane with
explosives and he detonated the explosives. If that had been
successful, the plane would have come down and we would have
had a Christmas Day massacre with almost 300 people murdered,"
he told the CBS news in an interview.