January 5, 2010 / 10:22 PM / 10 years ago

State Department revokes attempted bomber's visa

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is shown in a booking photograph released by the U.S. Marshals Service on December 28, 2009. REUTERS/US Marshals Service/Handout

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Tuesday said it had revoked the visa it had given a Nigerian man after his alleged attempt to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day with explosives hidden in his underwear.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said U.S. intelligence agencies had enough information about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to have discovered and possibly disrupted the plan to destroy the Detroit-bound airline but “failed to connect those dots.”

Obama said the intelligence community knew Abdulmutallab had traveled to Yemen and established contact with extremists. The CIA has said it first learned of Abdulmutallab on November 19, when his father visited the U.S. embassy in Abuja and sought help finding him.

Critics have questioned why the U.S. government did not put the pieces together and revoke his visa before Christmas.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Abdulmutallab was stripped of his visa after the attempted attack, as were an unspecified number of others suspected of links to terrorism.

“It’s more than one,” Crowley told reporters at his daily briefing. “I don’t think it’s fruitful to get into a scoreboard about ... how many people have we found today that we think have links to terrorism.”

Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Sandra Maler

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