The director of the Arabic school that arranged for alleged Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to enter Yemen legally has a creeping suspicion that the Nigerian attended only so that he could liaise with al-Qaeda in the country. By the time Abdulmutallab arrived in August, with the stated goal of improving his Arabic, he was already fluent. He attended class sporadically over 6 weeks.
“After that we never saw him again, and apparently he did not leave Yemen,” Muhammed al-Anisi tells the New York Times. “I do wonder if the school was an excuse.” Instead of heading home, authorities think Abdulmutallab traveled to meet with al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. Anisi says he was polite, if distant and pious to the exclusion of much else. “You would never imagine he would do this horrible thing.” (Read more Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab stories.)