[JURIST] A plea of not guilty was entered in a US federal court Friday for Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, indicted [text, PDF] on six counts for allegedly attempting to set off an explosive device on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 bound from Amsterdam to Detroit last month. Abdulmutallab is charged [JURIST report] with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the US, willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft, willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft, use of a firearm/destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm/destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. In his appearance before the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] Friday, Abdulmutallab refused to respond to the charges, and Judge Mark Randon entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Abdulmutallab will remain in custody, and no date has been set for his next hearing.
On Thursday, US President Barack Obama called for stricter airline security measures as he announced the conclusion of two security reviews he ordered [JURIST reports] after the failed bombing attempt. On Tuesday, Obama pledged to improve airline passenger security [JURIST report], calling the attempted bombing "a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence." Obama said that the US government had sufficient information to uncover the plot, but that "our intelligence community failed to connect those dots." On Monday, civil rights groups opposed [JURIST report] stricter screening procedures [TSA press release] for passengers entering the US from 14 countries, calling the measures unconstitutional. The enhanced screening procedures will affect travelers entering the US from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Abdulmutallab was charged [JURIST report] last month with willfully attempting to destroy an aircraft or aircraft facilities in violation of 18 USC § 32 [text].