Peter King: Terrorist on Detroit-bound airplane had “significant connections” to terrorists

Rep. Peter King, the ranking GOPer on the House Homeland Security Committee, told CNN in an interview yesterday that the terrorist onboard a Detroit-bound airplane (flying from Amsterdam) who attempted to blow it up indeed had “significant terrorist connections”:

The suspect in an alleged attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas was on a list “indicating significant terrorist connections,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Friday.

King, the top Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee, described the suspect in the attempted bombing of a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit as a 23-year-old Nigerian national with potential ties to al-Qaeda.

“He is a 23 year old Nigerian who is also – it’s been confirmed to me – while he was not on a no fly list, his name was on a list for having terrorist connections,” King said during an interview Christmas evening on CNN.

News broke Friday afternoon that a Nigerian man had attempted to light some sort of explosive device on the flight as it was approaching Detroit in an event described later by U.S. officials as an attempted terrorist attack.

The man failed in his attempt, and was reportedly subdued by the passengers and crew of the flight.

A senior Obama administration official told ABC News Christmas evening that the Northwest airlines incident “was an attempted act of terrorism. We’re taking increased steps to mitigate any threats.”

The official said that earlier reports that the explosives lit were firecrackers were not true, but did not comment further on the nature of the devices. The official added that the administration as for now does not believe that the attack was part of a broader effort.

King provided the earliest confirmation that the suspect, whose name King said he had, might have been affiliated with terrorists.

“His name was in a database indicating significant terrorist connections,” King said.

First, hats off to the passengers and crew who took the man down and subdued him until he could be handed over to the authorities. I’ve heard of stories before where passengers – since 9/11 – have acted to subdue passengers who get crazy on airplanes (like Richard Reid, of course, and another incident in which a man unaffiliated with terrorists tried to storm the cockpit of a domestic flight). Clearly the message being sent by the acts of heroism on this plane and others is that if Islamofascist thugs want to take over planes and kill people again, they won’t do it without a serious fight.

Re: the act of terrorism, there are lots of questions right now but no answers – yet. The main one, obviously: why was a guy who had “significant terrorist connections” not on the “no fly list”? Secondly, considering King’s information, why are we getting mixed signals from various officials about his terrorist connections?

Stay tuned

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