The U.S. learned about the Christmas Day attempted airline bombing suspect's ties to extremists while he was on flight to Detroit — and authorities planned to question him when the plane landed, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Senior law enforcement officials told the Times if U.S. border security officials had learned of the information earlier, Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab would've been interrogated and searched before he got on the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
"The people in Detroit were prepared to look at him in secondary inspection," said a senior law enforcement official who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing told the Times. "The decision had been made. The ... database had picked up the State Department concern about this guy, that this guy may have been involved with extremist elements in Yemen. ...They could have made a decision on whether to stop him from getting on the plane."
Authorities say Abdulmutallab, 23, was traveling to Detroit from Amsterdam when he tried to blow up the plane carrying nearly 300 people by injecting chemicals into a package of pentrite explosive concealed in his underwear.
The failed attack caused popping sounds and flames that passengers and crew rushed to extinguish.
A grand jury indicted the Nigerian man on Wednesday on charges of attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day by trying to use a weapon of mass destruction.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.