This Dec. 2009 photo released by the U.S. Marshal's Service on Monday Dec. 28, 2009 shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Milan, Mich. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's Service)
Updated: Thursday, 07 Jan 2010, 9:53 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 07 Jan 2010, 9:27 AM EST
WASHINGTON (AP) - Homeland Security officials say they had flagged the suspect in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt as someone who should go through additional security when he landed in the United States.
In a statement early Thursday, the department said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's potential ties to extremists came up in a routine check of passengers already en route to the United States from overseas.
Customs and Border Protection officials screen passengers against terrorist watch lists before international flights leave for the U.S., then check names against a different database while the flight is in the air. It was during this second check that officials flagged the alleged bomber.
The 23-year-old Nigerian man with ties to al-Qaida is charged with trying to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25.
Nigeria: Suspect in plane bomb attempt screened
Nigeria's attorney general says the man accused of trying to bring down a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day went through a proper security screening at the country's busiest airport.
Attorney General Michael Aondoakaa told reporters Thursday that security footage shows that 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab removed his shoes and went through a metal detector at the airport in Lagos.
Aondoakaa says that security agents at the airport "did what was required under the law."
He says he hopes the footage will help pull Nigeria off a list of 14 countries now subjected to stricter airport security screenings.
Nigerian officials have refused to publicly release the security footage.
Northwest is a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines Inc.