New York Times
11 February 2012
By CHARLIE SAVAGE
In August 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian graduate student, traveled to Yemen and began visiting mosques, asking where to find Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical Muslim cleric who preached on the Internet in support of Al Qaeda’s brand of militant Islam. Their intensive plotting together for the next five months, and how they tried to pull off a suicidal bombing of a jet bound for Detroit that Christmas, has now been laid out publicly in more detail than ever before.
Prosecutors sought a life sentence for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who pled guilty to federal charges in connection with a failed bombing attempt.
By spelling out the case against Mr. Abdulmutallab, the Obama administration also went a long way toward explaining why officials decided that Mr. Awlaki, a
citizen, had evolved from a propagandist to an “operational” terrorist. That, in turn, led to their extraordinary — and still officially unacknowledged — decision to kill Mr. Awlaki, without a trial, in a drone strike last September. United States