By US Attorney General Eric Holder
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty today to all counts of an eight-count criminal indictment charging him for his role in the attempted Christmas Day 2009 bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Contrary to what some have claimed, today’s plea removes any doubt that our courts are one of the most effective tools we have to fight terrorism and keep the American people safe. Our priority in this case was to ensure that we arrested a man who tried to do us harm, that we collected actionable intelligence from him and that we prosecuted him in a way that was consistent with the rule of law. We will continue to be aggressive in our fight against terrorism and those who target us, and we will let results, not rhetoric, guide our actions.
Northwest Airlines flight 253 carried 281 passengers and 11 crewmembers, all of whom could have been killed or injured had this plot been successful. Today, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is being held accountable for the attempted murder of 291 innocent people and he will face a potential sentence of life in prison at sentencing on Jan. 12, 2012.
I want to thank all those who worked on this important investigation, particularly prosecutors from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, as well as the many investigators and analysts from 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.