In recent years, two would-be U.S. attackers reported receiving bomb-making training from foreign groups but failed to set off the explosives.
A Nigerian man was given a mandatory life sentence for trying to blow up a packed jetliner near Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb sewn into his underwear. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had tried to set off the bomb minutes before the flight from Amsterdam landed.
The device didn’t work as planned, but it still produced smoke, flame and panic. He told authorities that he trained in Yemen under the eye of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric and one of the best-known al Qaeda figures.
A U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed al-Awlaki in 2011.
In 2010, a Pakistani immigrant who tried to detonate a car bomb in New York’s Times Square also received a life sentence. Faisal Shazad said the Pakistan Taliban provided him with more than $15,000 and five days of explosives training.
The bomb was made of fireworks fertilizer, propane tanks and gasoline canisters. Explosives experts said the fertilizer wasn’t the right grade and the fireworks weren’t powerful enough to set off the intended chain reaction.