U.S. Senator John McCain says the Nigerian accused of attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas Day (December 25) should be tried as an enemy combatant in a military court.
McCain told CNN Sunday that giving the man the right to an American lawyer that could help him legally withhold damaging information is a contradiction to the president’s view that America is at war with terrorists.
A federal grand jury has indicted 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on six criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder. Prosecutors allege the Nigerian national tried to detonate explosives concealed in his underwear during the flight from Amsterdam.
Abdulmutallab pleaded not guilty to the charges against him Friday in a Detroit courtroom. He could face life in prison if convicted.
The U.S. network CBS reported Thursday evening that Abdulmutallab boasted during his interrogation that some 20 other young Muslim men were being trained to carry out similar attacks. The CBS report cites British intelligence officials as saying the men were being prepared in Yemen to use the same technique to blow up airliners.
The United States has said U.S.-bound air travelers from Yemen will be subjected to more stringent security screening. Yemen is one of 14 countries affected by the policy.
U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday said U.S. agencies failed to “connect and understand” intelligence that could have stopped the attempted terror attack.
President Obama said he takes responsibility for the system’s shortcomings and ordered almost a dozen changes in the way potential threats are handled.