This is potentially significant, due to the highly plausible double meaning of the “ceremony” as an act of jihad, as well as for jihadists’ common habit of referring to an upcoming attack as a “wedding.” At the very least, it would behoove authorities to ask for more details before granting a visa, and restrict the interval for which it is valid.
“Man Attempts to Set Off Explosives on Detroit-Bound Airplane,” by Richard Esposito and Scott Mayerowitz for ABC News, December 25:
[...] The suspect was identified as Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, who according to federal documents is an engineering student at University College of London.
He was flying from Nigeria to the United States for a religious ceremony, according to his entry visa, which was issued June 16, 2008 and was good until June 12, 2010.
The government had no immediate plans after the incident to raise the threat level, a federal government source said.
The suspect had been in a law enforcement-intelligence database but was not on the government’s no-fly list, according to a law enforcement official. [...]
The suspect told authorities that he had explosive powder taped to his leg and used a syringe of chemicals to mix with the powder that was to cause explosion. This is of concert because it is a method of mixing that is consistent with terror techniques. [...]
UPDATE, 8:47pm PST: ABC News has since revised their report from religious “ceremony” to “seminar.” In any event, the fact remains that the visa was strikingly generous, and authorities did not ask enough questions about the “religious” nature of the suspect’s trip.