But one man in attendance labeled him a patsy.
Kurt Haskell is the guy who claims he saw a sharp-dressed English-speaking man helping al-Underoo at the Amsterdam airport gate prior to boarding their Northwest flight to Detroit. He has long claimed it was possibly an FBI sting, as he did in his 'victim impact statement' at the hearing:
Further, Mr. Chambers was quoted in the Free Press on January 11, 2011 when he indicated that the government's own explosives experts had indicated that Umar's bomb was impossibly defective. I wondered how that could be. Certainly, I thought, Al Qaeda wouldn't go through all of the trouble to plan such an attack only to provide the terrorist with an impossibly defective bomb.Call him a conspiracy nut, but his theory is not so far from looneyville. For instance, the bomber called Haskell as a witness--his only one--then five days later suddenly folded and pled guilty. Meanwhile just today news media are reporting on yet another FBI sting capture, this time a set-up Muslim heading for the Capitol carrying inert FBI explosives. How many is that now? The federal explosive ploy actually goes back a long way--all the way to the gang trying to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993. That sting went down the drain when their Egyptian plant bugged out right before a guy arrived with an Iraqi passport stamped September 11, 1990 and formulated a bomb that almost knocked down the towers.
The seminal question is this--was Abdulmuttalab carrying an inert bomb or did he simply mess up? And if his bomb was phony, why, and who planted it?
What never made much sense about the FBI plant theory is the administration's reaction to the event. One might think they would have jumped on it like Charlie Sheen on a Kardashian, but they bungled it horribly. They also allowed it to occur on Christmas Day Or maybe they tried--Janet Reno did say that the "system worked". Then again, that comment came off more like butt-covering (and certainly produced some blowback).
Would the FBI do such a thing and not tell the administration? Well, embarrassing the boss isn't a move to ensure job security. Director Mueller was given a 2 year extension on his 10 year gig last year--which hardly sounds like punishment. Would CIA have run it without telling anyone else? Possible, but coming off the 9/11 Commission results it sounds remote.
What about AQ? Maybe they wanted it to be a dud. Maybe the sharp-dressed man was a Muslim extremist sympathizer. After all, Abdulmuttalab didn't seem to have an issue with the guy, almost as if meeting him was planned in advance. But why would AQ want it to be a dud, you ask? Well, had the explosive detonated onboard approaching Detroit a terrorist explanation would not have been instantly evident. Might the Feds, in a noble effort to allay panic, have stonewalled with all kinds of alternate scenarios, maybe coming up with some theory about a spark in the center wing tank or an oxygen bottle exploding?
Keep in mind that AQ in the Arabian Peninsula took credit for the downing of UPS Flight 6 in Dubai and their claim went nowhere. Terrorists claim crashes all the time. By having this goofball attempt to light a dud underwear bomb it became a huge story with much publicity for AQ, not to mention more angst for TSA and security in general. In other words, there's some upside for the "AQ planted a dud" theory.
But back to Haskell's theory of FBI fore-knowledge. The question is whether his scenario represents something sinister, such as the government trying to manufacture phony stories about terrorism to propagate the coming police state or whether it actually led them to the eventual termination of 9/11 accomplice Anwar Awlaqi. Or did the thing just come off entirely as reported? The answer remains lurking up there above the local pay grade.