London, Dec 28 (NAI): Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, was given the green light to travel to America by staff at the US Embassy in London despite he being added to a "watch-list" with 550,000 names.
No attempt was made to revoke his London issue visa, which remained valid until June 2010. The US authorities placed him on the lowest-risk list in November 2009 after his wealthy banker father alerted authorities, the Daily Express reports.
The embassy granted Abdulmutallab a regular two-year visitor's visa in June 2008 because "there was no derogatory information available" on him, according to a US official.
On Thursday he travelled from Lagos in Nigeria to Amsterdam and on to Detroit with 80 grams of PETN explosive in a condom sewn into the crotch of his underpants.
British shoe bomber Richard Reid had 50 grams of PETN, a powdery substance that is a relative of nitroglycerine, when he tried to blow up a Miami-bound American Airlines jet in 2001.
According to sources, the condom was given to Abdulmutallab by Al Qaeda quartermasters in the Yemen, and was devised to help the bomber evade security.
As questions were surfacing over the bungling that allowed the 23-year-old Nigerian to try to bring down a Northwest Airlines plane over Detroit, President Barack Obama ordered a review of air security after demanding to know how a man who had been reported as a security risk had managed to board a flight carrying an explosive substance.
The President also demanded that the system of "watch-lists" for terrorist suspects be re-examined after it emerged that Abdulmutallab was listed and known to officials.
Abdulmutallab has now been charged by US authorities with trying to blow up the Airbus 330 jet, carrying 279 passengers and 11 crewmembers. (ANI)