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'Underwear bomber' suspect: Blame him for full-body scanners?

October 4, 2011 |  2:03 pm


Hate those full-body scanners at the airport? Blame the so-called underwear bomber. It was his attempted attack that ultimately led to their installation.

Now he has his day in court. Jury selection began Tuesday in a Michigan courtroom for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man who authorities say confessed to trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 by detonating explosives sewn into his underwear.

The plastic device malfunctioned, and Abdulmutallab was overpowered by passengers aboard the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, but not before the plane filled with smoke.

No one was injured in the failed bombing, but it continues to impact all Americans -- especially those who travel: The case prompted the Transportation Security Administration to adopt those controversial body scanners.

The defendant, who is acting as his own attorney, yelled "Anwar is alive!" and "The mujahedin will wipe out the U.S., the cancer!" before the first juror was brought in, according to CNN.

It appears to be a reference to Anwar Awlaki, the U.S.-born Muslim cleric and Al Qaeda leader killed last week by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen. Awlaki's fingerprints were allegedly found on the device that authorities said Abdulmutallab used in the failed attack, which in turn prompted U.S. authorization to target Awlaki for killing.

During a hearing last month, the defendant said "Osama's alive" and responded "jihad" when the judge made a reference to Al Qaeda while reading the charges, according to a Reuters report.

Opening statements are set to begin Oct. 11. Abdulmutallab faces life in prison if convicted of the eight felonies against him, including conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism. He has pleaded not guilty.

Perhaps no one bothered to let the suspect in on the joke -- you know, the one that says any man who represents himself has a fool for a client. Or  perhaps the joke will prove to be on everyone else.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Credit: AFP/Getty Images