[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced Wednesday that Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been 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 has been charged 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. US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] said [press release]:
The charges that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab faces could imprison him for life. 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.
Abdulmutallab could be arraigned as early as Friday before the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website].
On Tuesday, US President Barack 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].