An uncomfortable revelation about the foiled — er, soiled — 2009 terror plot of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber.” Via International Business Times:
John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration, revealed the soiling in Abdulmutallab’s pants was what saved hundreds of lives that Christmas.
Describing how he nearly succeeded, Pistole said: “It was very close, the bomber had had the device with him for over two weeks.
“It was degraded. We’re getting kind of personal now. Let’s just say its efficacy was degraded.”
On Christmas Day 2009 Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national who was then 23 years old, boarded Northwest Airlines flight 253 in Amsterdam. As the flight approached Detroit, Mich., he detonated the device, setting his trousers and the plane wall on fire. He was subdued by fellow passengers and arrested upon landing. In 2012 Abdulmutallab was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.