The Sunday Times last week reported that Abdulmutallab had come onto MI5’s radar because of his “multiple communications” with extremists in the UK, including several radical figures at mosques. The report quotes one Whitehall official: “This was a young man who while he was in the UK was starting his journey and was exploring an interest in radical Islam. He was making contact and reaching out to people who were MI5’s targets of interest.”
Apparently UK’s MI5 concluded that Abdulmutallab did not pose a threat to national security. The report also says that British officials believe Abdulmutallab decided to become a suicide bomber only after leaving UCL last year and travelling to Yemen. They also think that up to a dozen young British Muslims are receiving terrorist training in that country.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that Rashad al-Alimi, Yemen’s deputy prime minister for defense and security has told reporters that Abdulmutallab was first recruited by Al-Qaida when he lived in London from 2005-2008: “During the period he was living in Britain, I believe he was recruited by radical groups in Britain.”
What do we make of this?
If what the Yemini minister says is true, Abdulmutallab joins UK-born, Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who was also radicalized in London. Which makes one wonder — how did MI5 miss these two and how many more young men starting their “journeys” have also been missed across the pond.
If what MI5 says is true, then we are faced with an equally disturbing truth – Al Qaeda could recruit, train and deploy a suicide bomber in 3-4 months.
Various documents on USA v. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab including the 12/26/09 complaint and the 1/6/10 indictment have now been posted in cryptome.org.