Official says terrorism suspect is cooperating

Published February 3, 2010 12:03AM (EST)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Nigerian man accused of trying to use a bomb hidden in his underwear to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day has been cooperating with investigators since last week, a federal law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been providing useful intelligence that FBI agents working with the intelligence community have been following up in the United States and overseas, the official said.

On Capitol Hill, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that that Abdulmutallab did talk to FBI agents after he was arrested on Christmas Day, speaking freely until he went into surgery for burns on his legs.

In the interim, which lasted a few hours, investigators decided to read Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights when he returned, said a second federal law enforcement official. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Upon Abdulmutallab's return, it became apparent that he was not inclined to continue talking to investigators, so they then read him his rights, said the second official.

The second official made clear that getting Abdulmutallab's renewed cooperation has been an ongoing effort since that day.

In Detroit, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade declined to comment. A message seeking comment was left with Abdulmutallab's lawyer, Miriam Siefer.

Several prominent lawmakers have argued that Abdulmutallab should have been placed in military custody immediately or undergone more questioning before being given a Miranda warning by the FBI. 

By Pete Yost


By Matt Apuzzo

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Terrorism Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab