What is now being widely viewed as a terrorist attempt to take down an American airliner over U.S. soil once again raises questions over air security operations at airports. In this instance, the central issue is why the suspected terrorist, who was on U.S. intelligence radar, wasn’t blocked from boarding a U.S.-bound flight at the Amsterdam airport. Here, via Juan Cole, is a recent update:
Christian Purefoy is reporting on CNN that Abdul Mutallib ran into a radical Muslim network while studying in London. He was last registered in class at University College London in June 2008. This fall he had wanted to go study in Cairo, but his father was worried about his unsavory friends and afraid he would hook up with Egyptian radicals there. So the family sent him to study in Dubai instead. Sometime in late October he sent the family a text message that he was going off to Yemen and that the family would find it difficult to trace him because he was throwing away his phone’s sim card. So it appears that he was recruited into a radical Salafi cell in the United Arab Emirates that sent him to Yemen.