On Christmas Day, 2009, Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear on a transatlantic flight to Detroit. According to the official narrative, the security apparatus failed to detect the nearly successful plot. But attorney Kurt Haskell and his wife, who were passengers on the flight from Amsterdam with Abdulmutallab, aren’t buying it.
“The U.S. government escorted him through security without a passport, and we believe gave him an intentionally defective bomb,” Haskell told a local Fox News affiliate outside the court last week, adding:
It was intentional that it went this far to further the war on terror, to get body scanners in the airports, to increase the [Transportation Security Administration’s] budget, to renew the Patriot Act, and whatever other reasons you want to list.
According to the Haskells, Abdulmutallab would have been prevented from boarding the plane due to his lack of a passport — if not for the intervention of a well-dressed man at the airport with an American accent.
The alleged accomplice — unidentified thus far, reportedly because authorities refuse to release video footage — urged airline employees to allow the passportless would-be terrorist to board. Despite well-defined rules to the contrary, the mystery man reportedly said Abdulmutallab was a “Sudanese refugee” who should be granted an exception to passport regulations. He claimed that was normal.
“The ticket agent did not want to allow Abdulmutallab on the flight, and this man was very insistent of it, and then she referred them to a manager down the hallway,” Haskell told Fox2. That was the last time the couple saw the Nigerian until the smoke and screaming on board the plane.
Despite official denials, corroborating witnesses have also come forward to confirm the Haskells’ account. Dutch officials also admitted to having reviewed the videotape, though for unknown reasons have not publicly released it yet.
The Haskells’ story has remained the same from day one, they note. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the federal government, on the other hand, have changed their accounts four times so far.
Of course, this is not the first time the couple has made these allegations. In fact, at that same court hearing, they spoke to a reporter from the Free Press. The paper refused to publish any of their comments. Afterwards, Lori Haskell wrote on the family’s blog,
I don't blame the reporters though, I think they are truly interested, but when they give the story to their higherups, the stories are shot down because we are speaking out against the government, who helps fund them/controls them.
But the Fox News affiliate requested a follow-up interview, so more may be coming soon. Additionally, Haskell has made his views known repeatedly through the nationally syndicated Alex Jones Show, one of the first media outlets to cover the allegations.
There were also irregularities after the plane landed. The family and other witnesses have said that after arriving safely in Detroit, another man was taken into custody. The government has come up with multiple stories to explain what truly happened, all of which the Haskells say are bogus.
Abdulmutallab, whose father had previously reported him to U.S. authorities over terrorism concerns, had his trial date set for October 4 during the hearing last week. The judge refused the terror suspect’s request for more time to review the evidence, saying witnesses — up to 400 of them — needed time to arrange travel.
So far, the terror suspect is refusing representation, though a “stand-by” attorney who called the case “very defensible” and the presiding judge both hope that will change. "No, I still want it to be this way," Abdulmutallab said when asked if he would accept a lawyer, saying he didn‘t “see a big issue with me representing myself." He is charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism and other crimes.
The government has not responded to the allegations made by the Haskell family and other witnesses. But if media coverage of their accounts continues making headlines, that could change.
Photo: In this artist rendering, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, right, stands with his attorney Miriam Siefer, before U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds (out of picture) in federal court in Detroit, Sept. 13, 2010.