From the daily archives: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Indicted for Attempted Bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas Day

Defendant Faces Life in Prison if Convicted

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian national, was charged today in a six-count criminal indictment returned in the Eastern District of Michigan for his alleged role in the attempted Christmas day bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Detroit.

Count one of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a penalty of up to life in prison. Count two of the indictment charges him with attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count three of the indictment charges him with willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count four of the indictment charges Abdulmutallab with willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, which was likely to endanger the safety of such aircraft. This violation carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Count five of the indictment charges him with use of a firearm/destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, which carries a consecutive mandatory 30 years in prison. Count six of the indictment charges the defendant with possession of a firearm/destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, which carries a consecutive mandatory 30 years in prison.

“The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “This investigation is fast-paced, global and ongoing, and it has already yielded valuable intelligence that we will follow wherever it leads. Anyone we find responsible for this alleged attack will be brought to justice using every tool—military or judicial—available to our government.”

“The attempted murder of 289 innocent people merits the most serious charges available, and that’s what we have charged in this indictment,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

According to the indictment, Northwest Airlines flight 253 carried 279 passengers and 11 crewmembers. Abdulmutallab allegedly boarded Northwest Airlines flight 253 in Amsterdam on Dec. 25, 2009 carrying a concealed bomb. The bomb components included Pentaerythritol (also known as PETN, a high explosive), as well as Triacetone Triperoxide (also known as TATP, a high explosive), and other ingredients.

The bomb was concealed in the defendant’s clothing and was designed to allow him to detonate it at a time of his choosing, thereby causing an explosion aboard flight 253, according to the indictment. Shortly prior to landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Abdulmutallab detonated the bomb, causing a fire on board flight 253.

According to an affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, Abdulmutallab was subdued and restrained by the passengers and flight crew after detonating the bomb. The airplane landed shortly thereafter, and he was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Abdulmutallab required medical treatment, and was transported to the University of Michigan Medical Center after the plane landed.

This prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The investigation is being conducted by the Detroit Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is led by the FBI and includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Air Marshal Service, and other law enforcement agencies. Additional assistance has been provided by the Transportation Security Administration, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the Wayne County Airport police, as well as international law enforcement partners.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains mere allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.


U.S Customs and Border Patrol Year in Review Slide-show

The U>S Customs and Border Pratrol 2009


13th Annual Dunes Cleanup” on Saturday, January 16 at 8:00am

The United Desert Gateway invites all duners to the 13th annual Sand Dunes Cleanup on Saturday, January 16th. The annual cleanup is an important date on any duner’s calendar and is vital to the sustainability of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. “.

Event: 13th Annual Dunes Cleanup
Start Time: Saturday, January 16 at 8:00am
End Time: Saturday, January 16 at 12:30pm
Where: Glamis and Buttercup Sand Dunes


Congressman Bob Filner, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is concerned that the State of California may lose millions of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds allocated to the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF).

According to recent information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State of California has been slow to spend ARRA funding allocated through the CWSRF and DWSRF. The State of California was obligated $283,116,500 for the CWSRF, but has only $181,073,759 under contract and $18,880,616 in project outlays. The State was obligated $159,008,000 for the DWSRF, but has only $74,376,300 under contact and $667,323 in outlays.

The State of California must have the remaining CWSRF and DWSRF funding under contract by February 17, 2010. Any funds not under contract by the statutory deadline will be lost and re-allocated to other states.

In a letter (enclosed) to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Congressman Filner stated: “With so many Californians out of work, there is absolutely no excuse for our state to forgo federal funds that could be used to put people to work immediately and make long-term investments in our water infrastructure. I urge you to take immediate action to ensure the remaining funds are equitably distributed to local communities for projects that can be under contract before the statutory deadline!”


United States Congressman Bob Filner and California State Assemblywoman Mary Salas are sponsoring a January 8, 2010 Meeting of Stakeholders of the San Diego County veterans’ community.  The stakeholders will discuss the California State Auditor’s recent report regarding the performance of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  Salas, in her role as Chair of the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee, had requested a State Auditor’s audit and report after several hearings in her Committee uncovered shortcomings in the VA’s performance.

As reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Auditor Elaine Howle said the agency came up short in helping former service members secure affordable housing, alarming because of the number of homeless veterans.  She also said that the VA could do a better job of informing veterans about federal benefits available to them.

Said Howle: The agency “provides few direct person-to-person services to veterans and receives very little funding” to support California’s homeless veterans and to increase awareness of mental-health programs.  “The Department has only recently begun to step up its efforts to collaborate with other state entities.”

“The leaders in the Meeting of Stakeholders will review and discuss the auditor’s report and ways to improve services for California’s veterans,” said Congressman Filner, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “A document will come out of the meeting with recommendations to present to the California VA.”

In their roles as Chairs of the U.S. and California Veterans’ Affairs Committees, the two lawmakers are in an ideal position to call for veteran leaders to provide direction to the California VA.  “There are thousands of veterans falling through the cracks and not getting the services they need,” said Salas.  “Our aim in convening the Meeting of Stakeholders is to provide helpful suggestions coming from veteran leaders to the VA.”

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