Would-Be Terrorist Charged For Trying To Blow Up Flight

Northwest Delta Terror Plane Tail (AP)

The criminal complaint comes fast when you try to blow up a plane at Christmas.

The Nigerian man who tried to detonate an explosive as a Northwest flight approached Detroit yesterday has already been charged.

The case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab will be handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“This alleged attack on a U.S. aeroplane on Christmas Day shows that we must remain vigilant in the fight against terrorism at all times,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “Had this alleged plot to destroy an aeroplane been successful, scores of innocent people would have been killed or injured. We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously, and we will use all measures available to our government to ensure that anyone responsible for this attempted attack is brought to justice.”

The case brings to mind of course that of failed shoe bomber Richard Reid. Reid was sentenced to life two years after he tried to blow up an American Airlines jet on December 1, 2001.  (We can all still thank Reid for the fact that, eight years later, we still have to take our shoes off in the airport security line.)

Abdulmutallab’s trial will of course be significantly less complicated than the trials of the September 11 conspirators, scheduled to be held in New York. The Nigerian’s case will include dozens of eyewitnesses, a defendant who is apparently doing a lot of talking and no allegations (assumedly) of torture-riddled interrogations that will require the legal equivalent of walking through land mines.  

In other words, Adulmatallab’s trial will likely be completed well before the trial of alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  

The Justice Department press release is here.  

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