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Associated Press

Detroit Bomber 'Providing Intelligence about al-Qaida'

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Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. (Photograph: US marshals/EPA)

The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound
airliner on Christmas Day has been providing fresh intelligence in
several terrorism investigations, officials have said.

Umar
Farouk Abdulmutallab, who had a bomb hidden in his underwear, is said
to have been co-operating with investigators since last week.

The Obama administration had been under fire for giving Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent rather than interrogating him as a military prisoner.

In
the days following the failed bombing, a pair of FBI agents flew to
Nigeria and persuaded Abdulmutallab's family to help them. They brought
family members back to the US, according to a senior administration
official briefed on the case. The official spoke on condition of
anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

FBI officials
continued to question Abdulmutallab, working with the CIA and other
intelligence authorities, the official said, and Obama was receiving
regular updates.

A law enforcement official, also speaking on
condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the
case, said Abdulmutallab had provided information about his contacts in
Yemen, where an al-Qaida branch has claimed responsibility for the failed attack.

Authorities
had hoped to keep Abdulmutallab's co-operation secret while they
continued to investigate his leads but details began to trickle out
during testimony on Capitol Hill by the FBI director, Robert Mueller,
and director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair.

The Senate
intelligence committee chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein, asked Mueller: "It
is also my understanding that Mr. Abdulmutallab has provided valuable
information. Is that correct?"

"Yes," Mueller replied.

Mueller
then confirmed that the interrogation had continued despite the suspect
being advised of his right to have a lawyer and remain silent.

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