The Obama administration is reviewing U.S. terror monitoring procedures after a Nigerian man attempted to blow up an airliner as it approached the city of Detroit. Administration officials say the suspect's name had been entered into a U.S. security database, but had not been added to a "no-fly" list.
In the wake of Friday's foiled terror plot, President Obama has requested two reviews of U.S. security procedures. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke on ABC's "This Week" program. "First, on our watch-listing procedures: did the [U.S.] government do everything it could have with the information it had, understanding that these procedures are several years old? Did we do what we need to with that information? Second, obviously we have to review our detection capabilities. The president has asked the Department of Homeland Security to answer the very real question about how somebody with something as dangerous as PETN [plastic explosive] could have gotten onto a plane in Amsterdam," he said.
U.S. authorities have charged the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, with transporting and attempting to detonate explosives aboard an airliner . The suspect flew from from Amsterdam to the United States, and is believed to have hidden plastic explosives inside his clothing.
Passenger and witness Melinda Dennis said, "Right when we were about to land, there was some commotion in the back, and from what we could tell there was a gentleman who had some sort of device on him that caused him to catch on fire. They put out the fire, brought him up front where they stripped him down to make sure he had nothing else."
The suspect suffered burns and has received medical attention in Michigan, where he is being held.
U.S. officials confirm they had advance knowledge of the suspect. But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that knowledge did not rise to the level of banning him from flying or entering the United States. "There are different types of databases, and there was simply throughout the law enforcement community never information that would put this individual on a 'no-fly' list," she said.
Napolitano also appeared on ABC. She says the suspect's possible ties to terrorist groups are under investigation, but that there is no indication that Friday's bombing attempt was part of a larger plot.
According to Nigerian officials, the suspect's father had discussed concerns about his son's radical religious views with U.S. authorities in Nigeria before the attack.
U.S. Congressional leaders have promised probes of the incident. If convicted, the suspect could face 20 years in prison as well as a fine.