12 arrested in Malaysia, tied to underpants bomber


Twelve men arrested in Malaysia this month for alleged terrorist offences had connections to the Nigerian student accused of attempting to blow up a US passenger aircraft on Christmas Day, according to a report from Kuala Lumpur.

The Malaysian Home Minister, Hishamuddin Hussein, refused to confirm the report in the New Straits Times, a newspaper which follows the lead of the Government.

He insisted however that the detained men, who were arrested eight days ago at a gathering of Muslims in Kuala Lumpur, were “a serious security threat to the country”.

They included at least one Malaysian, four Syrians, one Yemeni, one Jordanian and two Nigerians, and are being held under Malaysia’s Internal Security Act (ISA). Under the Act suspects can be detained indefinitely without charge or trial.

Mr Hishamuddin said that the arrests were part of a broader international terrorist investigation, although he stopped short of confirming the report in the New Straits Times that they were members of a group connected to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian who allegedly attempted to detonate explosives on a flight to Detroit.

“We were working with other international anti-terrorism agencies and nabbed the ten suspects who are on the international wanted list,” he said. “If you are talking about international linkages, international terrorism, it cannot stop with just the people we apprehended because we don’t know who else is out there.


There appears to be a discrepancy in the story on the number of people arrested. Nevertheless, it does indicate how broad the conspiracy was and the diverse attempts to attack us. Earlier reports had indicated that about 25 British Muslims were also training for underpants attacks. They apparently have not surfaced yet. It will be interesting to see the source of the intelligence that led to these arrest. My speculation is it was largely based on intercepts of communications with the terrorist. The underpants bomber was not questioned long enough to identify these guys in a meaningful way.

Will the Obama administration put its FBI interrogation team together to go talk to these guys, or just fly over to read them their Miranda rights?


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