Background And Issues Of The Underwear Bomber Criminology Essay

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On December 25, 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian born passenger aboard an international flight into Detroit, Michigan, attempted to ignite an improvised explosive device. Abdulmutallab's efforts were unsuccessful and he was subdued by passengers and crew in flight. This incident became known as the Christmas Day Bombing and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as the Underwear Bomber.

The flight originated in Amsterdam with its final destination being Detroit. Abdulmutallab was working with al-Queda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and had been trained and instructed in Yemen on how to carry out his terror attack (Novak, 2010). He was instructed on how to ignite the explosive and to wait until the airliner was over U.S. soil before detonating the device, which was concealed in Abdulmutallab's underwear.

Passengers stated that as the airliner approached Detroit, Abdulmutallab went to the lavatory of the plane complaining of an upset stomach. When Abdulmutallab returned to his seat 20 minutes later, he pulled a blanket over himself and attempted to ignite the device in his pants (Shane & Lipton, 2009). The explosive device consisted of 80 grams of powdered pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) chemical that would be mixed with acid from a syringe. The mixture of the acid and PETN was supposed to explode but it did not detonate properly, due to a millimeter of separation between the mixtures.

The other passengers were alerted to Abdulmutallab's efforts by loud popping sounds and smoke from his pants and flames on his clothing and the wall next to his seat. Abdulmutallab was tackled by another passenger who then saw an object burning in his pants. The passenger extinguished the device with his hands. Finally, the crew members and passengers handcuffed Umar with plastic ties and confined him to a seat in the business class section of the aircraft (Shane & Lipton, 2009). The flight landed safely at Detroit's Wayne airport and Umar was turned over to FBI agents.

Background and Issues of the Underwear Bomber

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a Nigerian born Islamist bomber who confessed to attempting to bomb a Northwest airline Flight 253, en route to Michigan from Amsterdam while onboard. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hid the explosives that he intended to use in his underwear giving him the title, 'the underwear bomber'. He acquired the device and the needed training from the Al-Qaeda members in Arabia. Despite failing to bomb the aircraft, he pleaded guilty of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction and was sentenced on early February 2012 to life imprisonment without the likelihood of early parole. The court ruling over the case found out that Anwar organized the attack that Abdulmutallab attempted in December 2009.

Anwar is an American born leading figure of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Anwar instructed Abdulmutallab to bomb an American airliner (Seib & Janbek, 2011). He grew up in a Nigeria's wealthy family being the son of one of the wealthiest individuals in Africa. He went for his degree course in Yemen at a university known as Iman University. He also attended lectures at San'a Institute for the Arabic Language also in Yemen. Abdulmutallab received a mechanical engineering degree from a university in London in the year of 2005. Abdulmutallab has a strong belief in the Islamic religion and especially a belief that passing away while fighting Jihad, for most Muslims this is the most effective way of making it to paradise. Jihad is the Muslim's holy war in opposition to the infidels. Other sources indicate that this belief has been the main driving force for most suicide bombers. The suicide bombers are not afraid of dying because they will get to paradise for fighting infidels as such is their belief (Bennett & Leibsohn, 2011).

Abdulmutallab spent most of his time doing his Islamic group's activities besides his class work, which is the reason why he graduated with the second lowest score after his studies. He headed the London school's Islamic society as the president. The Department of Homeland Security states that Abdulmutallab is the fourth leader of the Islamic society in the London school charged with having a connection to a terrorist group or plotting a terrorist attack. Abdulmutallab organized and attended a conference early in the year of 2007 in which his aim was to address political figures, lawyers in human rights and other individuals in support of Jihad.

By then, the counter intelligence and other security personnel like the homeland security spotted Abdulmutallab and suspected multiple communications between him and major Islamic extremists. In early 2009, Abdulmutallab tried to enter Britain in a fictitious claim of attending a school in Britain; the British authorities denied his request and put his name on a watch list to prevent illegal immigrations but not in suspect of security issues. The national security officials spotted Abdulmutallab again but in a different country. Intelligence officials suspected his connection with Al-Qaeda officials in Yemen because of his wish to stay in Yemen even after dropping his course and leaving the school for a month. In December 2009, Abdulmutallab travelled to Shabwah province to organize the attack with Al-Qaeda officials who equipped him with the explosives (Boucek & Ottaway, 2010, p. 33-35).

On December 25, 2009, Abdulmutallab travelled to Amsterdam from Ghana, where he boarded Flight 253 belonging to Northwest Airlines destined for Detroit, spent close to 20 minutes in the airplane's bathroom and detonated the explosives upon returning to his seat. The passengers extinguished the fire on the plane. He admitted to having detonated an explosive device even to the security officials and was taken to court afterwards.

Research and Development Plan of the Project

Our Group has developed a multi-layers, three hundred sixty degree point of view research and development plan. The research will base on the points of view that show below:

Identify intelligence and security failures associated with underwear bomber terrorist attack.

Identify information sharing that occurred before and after the terrorist attack, or failures associated with information sharing. Identify policies that allow for information sharing that have occurred since 9/11.

Identify National Security and Homeland Security policies that now impact visa policies, flight procedures and policies, and prevention measures now being taken by the intelligence community and law enforcement personnel in order to protect the homeland and national security.

Identify if terrorist groups are trying to develop methods to prevent these additional measures being taken.

Identify actions being taken to prevent additional terrorist attacks associated with methods the underwear bomber used.

Identify gaps within research that require additional information to support research project or analytical conclusions.

Discuss how strategic intelligence affects national and homeland security measures, policies, and procedures.

Based upon court decisions of prosecution, identify actions taken to protect against additional attacks, implementation of security methods that worked and failed.

Discuss prosecution methods that had to occur. Discuss argument on Miranda rights associated to terrorism.

Discuss prosecution debates associated with terrorism.

Identify policy arguments associated with terrorism.

Divide articles identified as possible resources to read, summarize, and provide information that support research project.

The Development plan will base on these materials or similar that we will discuss for building a multi-layers development plan:

Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002 (EBSVRA)

Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15))

Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA)

State Department's visa vetting program

Visa Security Policy

Risk-Based Security Initiatives

New Restrictions Quickly Added for Air Passengers

US PATRIOT Act 2001 and 2005

Visa Provisions in USA PATRIOT Act Series No. 1

Title 14 Aeronautics and Space

Homeland Security Presidential Directive 19, Combating Terrorist Use of Explosives in the United States

Presidential Policy Directive 17, Countering Improvised Explosive Devices.

Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative

Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN)

Immigration Advisory Program

National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS)

Research Material

Below are the research materials that enhance our project:

Blair, D. C. (2010). Road rules for the Intelligence Community. Vital Speeches Of The Day, 76(4), 176-183. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Carafano, J. (2010). Should the TSA rely upon full-body scanners? Yes. U.S. News Digital Weekly, 2(2), 10. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Duffy, M., Thompson, M., Tumulty, K., Van Dyk, D., & Yan, S. (2010). The Lessons of flight 253. (Cover story). Time, 175(1), 26-30. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Flynn, S. (2011). Recalibrating homeland security. Foreign Affairs, 90(3), 130-140. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Hartley, W. (2012). OSINT summary: US disrupts alleged AQAP plot to target airliners. Jane's Terrorism & Security Monitor, 12(6) Retrieved from Proquest database

Heng, Y.K. & McDonagh, K. (2011) After the 'war on terror': Regulatory states, risk bureaucracies and the risk-based governance of terror. International Relations, vol. 25: pp. 313-329 Retrieved from Sagepub datebase

Hoffman, B. (2010). American jihad. National Interest, (107), 17-27. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Hosenball, M., Isikoff, M., Thomas, E., Dickey, C., Peraino, K., & Matthews, O. (2010). The radicalization of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. (Cover story). Newsweek, 155(2), 37-41. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Lauren, B. O. (2011). The evolution of terrorism since 9/11. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 80(9), 3-10. Retrieved from Proquest database

Mary, E. O. (2010). The choice of law against terrorism. Journal of National Security Law & Policy, 4(2), 343-368. Retrieved from Proquest database

Ming, H. C. (2010). Alienated: A reworking of the racialization thesis after September 11. The American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, 18(3), 411-437. Retrieved from Proquest database

Negroponte, J. D., & Wittenstein, E. M. (2010). Urgency, opportunity, and frustration: Implementing the intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act of 2004. Yale Law & Policy Review, 28(2), 379-417. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Newswander, C. B. (2011). The emergence of partisans and terrorists. Administrative Theory & Praxis (M.E. Sharpe), 33(2), 192-212. doi:10.2753/ATP1084-1806330202 Retrieved from ebscohost database

Pillar, P. R. (2012). Think again: Intelligence. Foreign Policy, (191), 1-10. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Sales, N. (2010). Mending walls: Information sharing after the USA PATRIOT Act. Texas Law Review, 88(7), 1795-1854. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Samuelson, T. D. (2009, December 29). 'Farouk1986': What Christmas bombing suspect wrote online. Christian Science Monitor. p. 1. Retrieved from ebscohost database

Walen, A. (2011). Criminalizing statements of terrorist intent: How to understand the law governing terrorist threats, and why it should be used instead of long-term preventive detention. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 101(3), 803-854. Retrieved from Proquest database

Yusha'u, M. J., (2011) News framing of the 'Detroit Bomber' in the Nigerian press

Global Media and Communication, vol. 7: pp. 281-286 Retrieved from Sagepub datebase

Roles of Group Members

Maxwell Arancon - Assistance with research and development plan of the project, assembled and editing of project assignment

Rafael Gil - Research and writing of issues relevant to the case

Angala Griffee - research and development plan of the project, compilation of articles needed for project

Brad Wyatt - research and writing of the synopsis of the events