After repeatedly denying that the Christmas Underwear Bomber™ had any help in his misguided attempt to blow up Detroit-bound Flight 253 on Christmas day 2009, or that there was any sign of an accomplice on over 200 hours of Amsterdam airport security tapes, the US government recently, and very quietly, chose to admit that it had been watching Mutallab all along and that it's now looking for his accomplice at Amsterdam airport.
In one of only a few mainstream news reports on the US government's reversal, the Detroit News stated:
The State Department didn't revoke the visa of foiled terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab because federal counter-terrorism officials had begged off revocation, a top State Department official revealed Wednesday.ABC News also reported:
Patrick F. Kennedy, an undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Abdulmutallab's visa wasn't taken away because intelligence officials asked his agency not to deny a visa to the suspected terrorist over concerns that a denial would've foiled a larger investigation into al-Qaida threats against the United States."Revocation action would've disclosed what they were doing," Kennedy said in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Allowing Adbulmutallab to keep the visa increased chances federal investigators would be able to get closer to apprehending the terror network he is accused of working with, "rather than simply knocking out one soldier in that effort."
Federal agents also tell ABCNews.com they are attempting to identify a man who passengers said helped Abdulmutallab change planes for Detroit when he landed in Amsterdam from Lagos, Nigeria.Of course, that's not an admission that Mutallab had an accomplice, but it says a lot following six weeks of repeated denials on the existence of accomplices.
If US federal counterterrorism officials, aka the FBI, specifically requested that Mutallab be allowed to fly to Detroit from Amsterdam, it lends a lot more credence to the report by lawyer and eyewitness Kurt Haskell who has repeatedly claimed that Mutallab was escorted to the gate in Amsterdam by a "sharply dressed Indian-looking man". If we accept Haskell's statement (and at present there is no reason not to) then a reasonable explanation is that the accomplice was tasked with ensuring that Mutallab got on the plane and was a member of either the US intelligence services or the intelligence services of another US-friendly nation.
Haskell himself has presented just such an analysis on his web site.
Surely if US intelligence was aware that Mutallab was a terrorist threat they would have at least taken the precaution of making very sure that the flight onto which he was to be escorted was not a target of the "terror network"? Surely a thorough rub down, or a strip-search would not have been out of the question for such a threat to US national security?
Take your pick; either US intelligence is so incompetent that they did not first check if this known terrorist was carrying a bomb onto the plane, or they staged the entire operation themselves in order to keep the Islamic terrorism bandwagon rolling.
One of the most interesting things about the Christmas day underwear bombing fiasco is that it played out on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. If Mutallab had no passport and was escorted to the gate by a "sharply-dressed man", then it is unlikely that he went through normal security checks at the airport. We have no doubt that an agent of the US government could quite easily bypass security at any airport, but we also believe it would be difficult to prevent this fact from leaking out to the press, particularly from officials and security personnel working at Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
To enable a person to bypass all airport security would require a very particular presence at the airport in question, something akin to a little self-contained "kingdom".
Recently, Joe exchanged a few emails with a Dutch reporter who has extensive experience of the internal workings of Amsterdam airport. He told me:
Israel [...] needs US-weapons - and spare-parts. Most of this stuff is since many years brought to Israel by cargo planes (Hercules, B-747) that used Schiphol (Amsterdam) as the needed half-way-stop. Officially they were civil planes, but they were treated as state - (military) planes. There is legally a big difference in status.
Because this weaponry was in many cases of a very sophisticated and for that reason classified kind, it needed protection on the way from the US to Israel. The Dutch authorities therefore agreed upon the fact that Israel was given a special secluded area (hangar and apron) that would be guarded by Israeli personnel.
These guardians were not of El Al (Israeli national airline). They were members of Shin Bet, the Mossad-branch that looks after civil safety. For the young people that manned it, it was a way of performing their conscription duties.
Members of Shin Bet did not only guard military airplanes. They also provide for safety of passenger-planes. I do not know whether it is the same at other airfields, but at Schiphol everyone could see them at work at the gates of El Al planes.
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