It turns out Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was not a picky would-be terrorist. The infamous Christmas 2009 underwear bomber would've liked to have blown up a plane above the skies of Houston or Chicago, the Associated Press reports. But he settled on a Detroit flight because it was the cheapest.
Abdulmutallab, who was allegedly armed with the thankfully malfunctioning improvised explosive by Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch, was discouraged from bombing a Chicago flight because of the "cost" and was considering bombing Houston where he attended an Islamic conference. Compare that to the three business class seats and two first class seats the FBI says the 9/11 hijackers booked on Flight 11 to Los Angeles.
The AP points out that "Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch does not share Osama bin Laden's desire to attack symbolic targets, preferring instead to strike at targets of opportunity." Meaning: it's a reminder that prominent American cities like New York, D.C., L.A., or Chicago aren't the sole targets of foreign terrorists, who appear to be looking to strike the most convenient targets--no matter where they're located.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.