London, Jan. 3 (ANI): Three years before the Nigerian bomber tried to blow up the Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day, British intelligence service MI5 knew that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had "multiple communications" with Islamic extremists in Britain.
The Times quoted senior counterterrorism officials as saying that Abdulmutallab was "reaching out" to extremists whom MI5 had under surveillance while he was still a student at University College London.
However, none of the information was passed to American officials.
It is now that British officials have passed a file to their US counterparts on Abdulmutallab's repeated contacts with MI5 targets, who were subject to phone taps, email intercepts and other forms of surveillance.
According to a senior Whitehall official, the MI5 had conducted a quick assessment of Abdulmutallab and concluded that he was not a threat to national security.
"There had to be a judgment made depending on the nature of the relationship as to whether there was any threat. Someone will have judged: okay, [he is] noted but if there was no evidence of a threat, [they would] move on," said one official.
One of the radical preachers believed to have inspired Abdulmutallab is the American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is based in Yemen.
Abdulmutallab first encountered Awlaki while he was studying Arabic in Yemen in 2005.
US intelligence officials are now investigating the nature of contacts between the two men. (ANI)