Abdulmutallab was on Northwest Flight 253 approaching Detroit's Metropolitan Airport when he gets a strong enough urge to use the airline's toilet for a full 20 minutes. Back from the loo he announces that he has an upset stomach and is seen pulling a blanket over self as he takes his seat!
Fellow passengers then hear strange noises similar to Diwali crackers popping from around his seat. Was the upset stomach up to some mischief? Hey, did he actually fart? Hmmm doesn't the emanating odour smell rather fishy?!
Wait a minute, why is he holding that syringe in his hands? Oh, he might be a doctor you see and was taking self medications. But but why is that syringe in his hand melting and emitting smoke?
As it turned out the man is a UK educated engineer - don't know if he is Chemical Engineer though as he couldn't perhaps mix the chemicals in the syringe in right proportion with PETN (pentaerythritol) contained in the contraption tied to his leg. The result: the concoction could only act as an incendiary and burned off his pants rather than work as an explosive and blow up the airplane.
Before long his antics had caught the attention of many a passenger and one Dutchman did muster enough courage to subdue him and get him arrested.
Hey, don't you still wonder why the guy was that long in the toilet? Well, he probably had to remove the PETN he had sewed up into his underwear and transfer it to the container he was to tie to his leg, you see!!
Hey, but how could he dodge the surveillance and get away with the PETN intact in his undies? Might be that he is a good enough engineer to know that there still isn't any technology that can detect PETN if it's insulated within, well let's say a plastic container!?
The whole issue might have come off as a bad joke to Abdulmutallab and might seem funny to some. But, doesn't just the thought that the Nigerian man came so perilously close to spoiling the Christmas merriment of an entire nation and could have actually ended up destroying a U.S. jetliner - no less - in a 9/11-esque repeat, if things had moved as per his plan sufficient to send shivers down our spines?
Still, as ShakespeareShakespeare famously said 'all that ends well is well'.