At the time it was a "non-event," Kurt Haskell says. But when he later concluded that one of the men he'd seen at the airport in Amsterdam was suspected bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the possible significance of what Haskell says he overheard became clear.
As we reported earlier, Haskell (a Michigan lawyer) has been telling investigators and the news media about a conversation he says he heard before passengers boarded Northwest flight 253 to Detroit on Christmas Day.
According to Haskell, Abdulmutallab and an older, well-dressed man approached an airline employee. The older man said Abdulmutallab was Sudanese, had no passport, but needed to get on the flight. The airline employee directed them to a manager and the men went down a hallway. Haskell says he never saw the older man again, and didn't see Abdulmutallab until the incident aboard the flight as it approached Detroit — when the Nigerian (the suspect is not Sudanese) allegedly tried to ignite some typeof explosive.
Here's part of a conversation Haskell just had with All Things Considered co-host Robert Siegel:
And later in their conversation, Haskell talks about how it wasn't until much later that he realized the possible importance of what he heard:
Much more from their conversation is due on today's edition of ATC. Click here to find an NPR station near you that broadcasts the show.