FBI agent opens up about 2009 Christmas Day 'Underwear Bomber' over Metro Detroit

Timothy Waters speaks for first time about attempted terror attack on airplane

DETROIT – The Metro Detroit FBI agent who was instrumental in the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, known as the "Underwear Bomber," spoke publicly for the first time to the Local 4 Defenders.

The case known as the Christmas Day underwear bombing happened Dec. 25, 2009. There were 300 people on board Flight 253 above Metro Detroit when Abdulmutallab, 23, tried to ignite a liquid bomb.

FBI agent Timothy Waters shared his story to show people what it's like to work inside the Joint Terrorism Task Force and to encourage people to report suspicious activity that could lead to foiled terror plots.

As Metro Detroit residents were opening Christmas presents, agents with the Joint Terrorism Task Force started receiving urgent phone calls from Detroit Metro Airport.

Agents learned a man had tried to blow up a plane full of people with a bomb hidden in his underwear. Abdulmutallab sneaked explosives onto the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit and tried to light them as the plane descended.

The FBI's pagers and phones started ringing, and Waters got one of the first calls.

"I was the SWAT supervisor for the squad that responded," Waters said. "I interviewed Abdulmutallab at the hospital that day."

It didn't matter that Waters was enjoying Christmas morning with his family.