CBS reported that Abdulmutallab “checked no bags, carrying aboard only a small bag for a scheduled two-week trip.” It calls the lack of checked baggage a “potential red flag” that was missed.
On Christmas Eve, Abdulmutallab departed from Lagos in Nigeria on KLM Flight 588, according to the International Herald Tribune (via Nexis). The paper reported that he arrived in Amsterdam at 5:37 a.m. local time on Christmas day, and then departed for Detroit on Flight 253 three hours later, at 8:54 a.m.
Michigan couple Kurt and Lori Haskell say they were on Flight 253 and they saw an older, well-dressed Indian man accompany Abdulmutallab to the gate in Amsterdam and ask a ticket agent if Abdulmutallab could board without a passport, saying he was from Sudan. Kurt Haskell says the ticket agent directed the pair to a manager down the hall and he did not see them again. However, the Dutch counterterrorism agency has said that Abdulmutallab had a valid Nigerian passport, which was presented before he boarded Flight 253 in Amderstam, as well as a U.S. visa. And Reuters cites Dutch prosecutors who reviewed over 200 hours of video and found no accomplice with Abdulmutallab.
While Flight 253 was in the air, U.S. border officials discovered Abdulmutallab’s name in the TIDE database and had decided to question him on landing on Detroit, according to the Los Angeles Times. Newsweek fills in the timeline on this point, reporting that officials at the Virginia-based National Targeting Center, which is part of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Bureau, found Abdulmutallab in TIDE. The National Targeting Center then sent out an alert to border posts instructing that Abdulmutallab should go through special screening on arrival.
Information on all US-bound passengers is forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security before takeoff, according to the New York Times.
Late Late Update: The State Department missed the fact that Abdulmutallab had a U.S. visa because of a misspelling of his name.