After the incident, Abdulmutallab told Customs and Border Protection officer Marvin Steigerwald that he obtained the device in Yemen and that he hid it in his underwear. When he was questioned later by two FBI agents, Abdulmutallab said he went to Yemen to become involved in jihad and that he was influenced by a man named Abu Tarak to undertake a suicide operation, investigators said.
Intelligence officials said that while in Yemen, Abdulmutallab also met with Anwar al-Awlaki. In March 2010, Awlaki released a tape praising Abdulmutallab. He addressed the "American people and said that nine years after the 9/11 attacks, "you are still unsafe even in the holiest and most sacred of days to you, Christmas Day."
"Our brother Umar Farouk has succeeded in breaking through the security systems that have cost the U.S. government alone over $40 billion," said Awlaki.
U.S. officials say that Awlaki was in electronic communication with Abdulmutallab repeatedly prior to the bombing of Northwest flight 253.
After Abdulmutallab's arrest, his family in Nigeria released a statement saying they had been so concerned about his political extremism that they had reported him to Nigerian authorities and to "foreign security agencies" months before the bombing.
The statement said that Abdulmutallab's recent behavior was "completely out of character and a very recent development, as before then, from very early childhood, Farouk, to the best of parental monitoring, had never shown any attitude, conduct or association that would give concern."
A senior U.S. official told ABC News that Abdulmutallab's father told the U.S. embassy in Nigeria his son had become radicalized and could pose a threat to the U.S.