On Nov. 11, a Somali man in his late 30s walked into Mogadishu International Airport with an explosive device remarkably similar to the one that failed to detonate on Detroit-bound Northwest flight 253
on Christmas Day, authorities said.
Man Carrying Explosives Similar to Underwear Bomber Was Arrested in Somalia Last Month
It too had powdered chemicals, liquids and a syringe -- just like the one Abdulmutallab, 23, allegedly carried in his underwear and tried to detonate.
The Somali suspect, Abdi Hassan Abdi, was arrested at the airport and remains in custody. The final destination of the Daallo Airlines flight he tried to board was Dubai.
"We don't know whether he's linked with al Qaeda or other foreign organizations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed," a Somali police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise, told The Associated Press.
U.S. intelligence agencies are scrambling to see if the arrest means there is a broader plot involving multiple operatives, ABC News has learned.
Today, there are more indicators that the United States' counterterrorism system may not be functioning properly. Sources told ABC News the intelligence community only informed the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration about the incident involving Abdi this morning.
Tom Kean, chairman of the commission that investigated the 9/11 terror attacks, said the recent lack of communication has a familiar ring.
"This feels like after 9/11," Kean told ABC News. "This is, as Yogi Berra would say, deja vu -- the same thing happening over and over again. We have got to find out why. We have got to fix this problem."
Slowly, a picture is emerging of the security lapses in the case involving Abdulmutallab, a failure that President Obama bluntly acknowledged Tuesday. More from ABC News and a video report at: http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Politics/us-intelligence-agencies-investigate-broader-terror-plot/story?id=9450057