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While the intelligence official cautioned that Mr. Abdulmutallab may simply have been talking tough, he told his interrogators that “this is just the beginning.”

“I beat your security and you can’t stop us,” the intelligence official cited Mr. Abdulmutallab as telling the FBI.

The intelligence official said Dutch and U.S. law-enforcement authorities are taking seriously and investigating a report that Mr. Abdulmutallab was allowed on the plane without a passport.

Kurt Haskell, a passenger on the flight, told the Detroit News that he saw Mr. Abdulmutallab try to board a flight without a passport.

Mr. Haskell, who was returning from an African safari with his wife, also told the newspaper that he saw a well-dressed man ask the ticket agents whether Mr. Abdulmutallab could get on the flight without a passport, apparently insinuating that he was a Sudanese refugee without proper documentation.

“We’re also very interested in the gentleman who drove them to the airport. … The Dutch are doing an investigation and they have promised to share with us the results,” the intelligence official told The Times.

Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday that Mr. Abdulmutallab was in that country from early August to early December after he obtained a visa to study Arabic at a school where he had previously studied.

The Yemen government said that there was nothing suspicious about Mr. Abdulmutallab’s visit and that he had a valid visa to the U.S. and other countries.

Yemeni security agencies are working to identify any other people involved in the apparent plot, and the government said the results of that probe will be shared with U.S. authorities.

Making his first public statement since the unsuccessful attack, Mr. Obama expressed concerns about Mr. Abdulmutallab’s ability to board the plane and ordered a review of the case.

Mr. Obama is particularly eager to know why a person whose name was on a U.S. terrorist watch list was permitted to board a flight to the United States.

In a statement released Monday, Mr. Abdulmutallab’s relatives said they reported concerns to Nigerian and some foreign security agencies more than a month ago, after the young man stopped communicating with his family. Mr. Abdulmutallab ended up on the watch list as a result.

The information from Mr. Abdulmutallab’s family triggered a Nov. 20 State Department cable from Lagos, Nigeria, to all U.S. diplomatic missions and department headquarters in Washington. It also was shared with the interagency National Counterterrorism Center, said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly, the Associated Press reported.

The NCTC, which has responsibility if any visas are to be pulled over terrorism concerns, then reviewed the information and found it was “insufficient to determine whether his visa should be revoked,” Mr. Kelly said.

The president also said Monday that he wants the review to determine how Mr.Abdulmutallab was able to pass through security and smuggle explosives onto the jet.

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