Latest on Airline Incident Pt. 2


7:20 PM: A White House official tells TPM that the US believes this was “an attempted act of terrorism.”

7:26 PM: For those just checking in, the latest information suggests an incident very similar to the Richard Reid “shoe bomber” incident in December 2001. In this case, a 23 year old Nigerian national attempt to detonate an explosive device shortly before the jet was flying on landed in Detroit. However, the device failed to detonate and he was quickly subdued by other passengers.

7:47 PM: Latest report from the Associated Press.

9:03 PM: Rep. Peter King (R-NY) says that the alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was known in US counter-terrorism files and may have been banned from flying into the US.

9:07 PM: In advance of being briefed, Rep. Hoekstra (R-MI) uses the Detroit incident to attack President Obama and tie it to the Fort Hood shooting.

10:28 PM: A few more late details collected by the Washington Post. Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23 year old suspect, who is a Nigerian national, reportedly attends University College London where he studies — or probably better to say — studied engineering. He has also reportedly told investigators that he went to Yemen to pick up the device he used on the plane. The Post reports: “Officials described the device as incendiary rather than explosive, pending tests by forensics experts at the FBI. Incendiary devices generally deliver less of an impact than explosive devices.” I’m curious what the precise distinction is since, presumably, the device would have to have some substantial explosive impact to have any hope of bringing down the plane. Needless to say, I have no expertise in these matters. But this part of the story struck me as curious. No doubt we’ll hear more about this soon.

10:40 PM: New statement released by DHS.


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of