From the L.A. Times.
The new information shows that border enforcement officials came close to uncovering the plot despite previous intelligence failures that were criticized by President Obama this week.
If the intelligence had been discovered sooner, it could have resulted in the interrogation and search of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he boarded the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight, senior law enforcement officials said.
"The people in Detroit were prepared to look at him in secondary inspection," said a senior law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. "The decision had been made. The . . . database had picked up the State Department concern about this guy, that this guy may have been involved with extremist elements in Yemen. . . . They could have made a decision on whether to stop him from getting on the plane."
It appears that the Intelligence Agencies under President Obama really aren't as hopelessly clueless as they had been under President Bush, and now the goal will be make them even better not tear our hair out in panic or frustration.
Another interesting factor in the L.A Times report is apparently that AdbulMutallab has been providing quite a bit of information, and that he has admitted communications to the same former Radical U.S. Cleric that had been linked to Maj Hasan and the Ft. Hood Shootings.
Abdulmutallab has provided valuable information to the FBI and federal prosecutors about his dealings with extremists in Yemen, where he was allegedly trained and outfitted with the explosive device that he concealed in his underwear during the trip that began in Ghana, according to U.S. law enforcement officials. Abdulmutallab has told interrogators that the plot involved meetings in Yemen with Anwar al Awlaki, an American-born Yemeni cleric suspected of involvement with Al Qaeda. In addition, communications intercepts detected discussions about Awlaki's role in a suspected plot involving a Nigerian, U.S. officials have said.
The investigation has also uncovered communications between Abdulmutallab and Awlaki, a U.S. anti-terrorism official said today.
"He was definitely in communication with Awlaki," said the official. "That's been documented."
The FBI had investigated Hasan's links to Awlaki, but hadn't found their communication suspicious. The only known link between Awlaki and al Qeada had been that some of the 9-11 Hijackers went to his mosque in Virginia, but not that they'd communicated with him while there. Yet another link to Awlaki may indicate that he had stronger links to al Qeada then the FBI had previously thought.