December 25th, 2009
08:03 PM ET
9 months ago

Source: WH considers Friday incident attempted terrorist attack

(CNN) - A senior Obama administration official says the White House is now considering Friday's incident aboard a Detroit-bound Northwest airlines flight an attempted terrorist attack.

A passenger on the flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan caused a brief disturbance at the end of the trip by igniting several firecrackers, according to a Delta Air Lines spokeswoman.

The passenger was immediately subdued, according to spokeswoman Susan Elliott. The incident resulted in some minor injuries, she said.

President Obama, who is spending the holidays in his home state of Hawaii, was briefed on the incident during a secure phone call with aides, and instructed in a subsequent discussion with security advisers "that all appropriate measures be taken to increase security for air travel," White House spokesman Bill Burton told CNN. The president made no changes to his schedule, Burton said.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Friday saying that air passengers "may notice additional screening measures put into place to ensure the safety of the traveling public on domestic and international flights."

The plane, an Airbus 330, landed around noon ET. It was carrying 278 passengers.

The Transportation Security Administration had no immediate comment.

Delta is the parent company of Northwest.

–CNN's Kevin Bohn, Elise Labott and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Preston kathy

    Pkm those fire crackers could of blown up the whole plane if it was not a terror attack the person had to be pretty stupid

    December 25, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. terry,va

    Detroit now, Chicago next. Show weakness and this is what you get.

    December 25, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. terry,va

    Wonder if this guy or someone like him will sneak into the White House next?

    December 25, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  4. terry,va

    When a real attack comes, will you be able to answer the 3am phone call and react Obummie? This dude was like a pimple on an elephant.

    December 25, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. terry,va

    It was probably a protest to the heath care bill.

    December 25, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Russ

    Why celebrate Christmas if you don't believe in God. Leave Hawaii and go back to work (Wasington). Who's the hipocrite? The Christian who goes to church because of their faith or the people who celebrate Christmas because they get presents? Remember, 2010 years ago you all recieved the greatest gift of all...He still loves you, even though you've turned your back on him. Also, There is no such thing as a "good enough"christian. To say your a christian and not go to church is called laziness and will get you nowhere.

    December 25, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. gary davis Harbor Oregon proud american

    so were is the creep DICK CHENEY when you think you need him ? LOOKS LIKE THE GOVERNMENT can do okay with out his devine leadership LOL why to go people catching a terrorist :)

    December 25, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. S Callahan- This is the 4th Week of Advent, light the candle for LOVE

    Subdued? by whom...Marshalls? customers?

    December 25, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    A few firecrackers an "attempted terrorist attack?" Ridiculous! What's next? Cracking your knuckles being called an "attempted terrorist attack?"

    December 25, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. vwrtb

    I know! Let's wiretap each other's phones!

    December 25, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. Michael Mimo

    There has been an escalation of tension coming from Yemen for months. The Yemen attacks against the Saudi border are one such incident. Yet, it seems little attention has been focused in this area. When terrorist tensions rise in areas around the world, it almost a given that an attack will originate from that area. This is perfect example of this pattern. It is a simple equation yet it seems to be ignored.

    December 25, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  12. A couple of things here.......

    first of all, Obama should stay in Hawaii on vacation........afterall it's only a terrorist attack,

    secondly, make sure the terrorist is read his rights, is not water boarded,
    is not forced to give any information whatsoever, is not sent to Gitmo, and
    has a warm bed, and hot meals every four hours.

    December 25, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. Swishbone

    Lets see....a Jihadist can butcher 13 Americans on a military base in Texas and Obama immediately says we should withhold judgement. But then he jumps on this one. Nonsensical. Mr. Obama's pattern of behavior is becoming increasingly odd.

    December 25, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. I am very concerned about the rights of this terrorist.....

    he must not be forced to give any information about who he is working with or who authorized his mission.......there must be no enhanced interrogation........he must have a lawyer right away and his Miranda rights must be read to him......you may not take him to Gitmo......he should be returned to his homeland of Nigeria and given enough money to start a new career.

    December 25, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  15. Pene

    I know the GOP extremists will say this is Pres Obama's fault somehow, all the while overlooking the fact that the passegers survived, and a disaster was avoided. BTW, I think we need to start profiling, and some of these Muslims need to leave.

    December 25, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  16. Peter E

    This is what we get when we continue to refuse to share our terrorist watch list with our allies. For several years this has been a problem. Terrorists board flights bound for the US, and only in the air do they figure it out. Wouldn't it make sense to share that list with our allies? It is in our best interest not just for our protection, but for protecting our allies as well. These people are a threat not only to the US, but to the whole world.

    December 25, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  17. steve

    Can someone call Sen Jim "waterloo" Demint to release the HOLD he placed on Obama administration nominee for TSA For his own partisan
    reason. Security of the flying public should override partisan gamesmanship

    December 25, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. A. Smith, Oregon

    What is there to 'consider'? Way back in the ninety's when the FBI investigated Muslims that were suspected of being involved in the 'original' world trade center bombing, one of the Muslim suspects ran into the bathroom and dunked his hands into the toilet. Why you ask? He risked a destruction of evidence charge rather than submit to a chemical test which would likely have shown Ammonium Nitrate used to build the original trade center bomb on his hands.

    Urea found in urine contains NITROGEN. Obviously nearly all explosives contain forms of Nitrate's and bomb sniffing dogs and bomb testing airport chemical sensors routinely check for any traces of that compound.

    HOWEVER, if that chemical smell or trace is coming from a person's groin area that is natural and is going to be ignored. Obviously that information has been not only long known around the world but more importantly, Muslim bombers decided to exploit that lapse.

    What to do? Check all infants with strong traces of Urea?

    What happened to all of the Bush-Cheney administration vaunted airport security agency database, this person was a suspect before wasn't he?

    There is going to be a distinct backlash on the Muslim community if American citizens are forced to routinely disrobe in order to board their flights.

    Let's watch and see how silent the Muslim community is on this latest outrage upon American freedoms.

    December 25, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  19. SF Serg

    If he doesn't know where Bin Laden is at, they should send him directly to the chair. NO JAIL, NO TRIAL. Just fry him up. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!

    December 25, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  20. Artie

    I thought the WH considered all these incidents as mere crime ! Noww got a war ?

    December 25, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm sure those Detroit passengers whooped his a$$.

    December 25, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  22. docluvfun

    it amazses me the stupidity of this system, who doesn't recognize that the west is in war with isamic fendamentalists, always we have to use the political correctess so we don't hurt the feeling of someone, i wonder when we should start puting these criminal to death without wasting money on them, the terrorist is being treated currently in the burn unit in one of the best places in the country at Ann Arbor hospital, and will make sure he gets all when he needs from food to cable, to lawyer etc.
    i should been much better and more effective to shoot him in front of his fellowers after introgating him, he will join the other in the new GITMO in illinois and we will be paying his expense for ever where are we as a country, one shoots our soliders in forth wood other blowing an airplane and no one missles landed on pakistan or iran, it is about time to bomb every place terrorists live and who cares about the rest of the world

    December 25, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  23. bill

    but Obama is now President & everyone is suppose to love us since the evil Pres. Bush is gone.... yea right........ hey I have some beach property in Arizona, I will sell it very cheap to you liberals.

    December 25, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  24. Bassman

    Maybe we should stop listening to clownish Keith Olbermann, Huffington Post, and the Daily Kos, and start listening to form VP Cheney.

    December 25, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    i thought this was to stop once obama because the king

    y do people still not love us

    i think we were duped

    December 25, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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