Nightly News   |  February 02, 2010

Terror suspect cooperating with officials

Officials said Tuesday that the man accused of plotting to blow up a Delta-Northwest jet on Christmas Day has been providing investigators with useful information. NBC Justice Correspondent Pete Williams reports.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: There is late news tonight about the man accused of trying to blow up that jet on final approach into Detroit on Christmas Day . For this story, we want to go to our justice correspondent Pete Williams , also in our Washington newsroom. Pete , good evening.

PETE WILLIAMS reporting: Brian , this is a major boost in the government's effort to learn more about the al-Qaeda group in Yemen considered responsible for the attack. Federal officials now say that Umar Abdulmutallab is now freely talking to the FBI and has been since last Thursday about what led up to the plot to blow up a passenger jet from Amsterdam as it came in for a landing in Detroit Christmas Day . These officials say the information from Abdulmutallab is proving to be current and reliable and that it's being aggressively pursued in Yemen . The US considers it a valuable weapon in countering the al-Qaeda terror group there. Abdulmutallab talked to the FBI for about an hour after he was arrested Christmas Day , but then he stopped answering questions. His renewed cooperation may lead to a plea agreement, sparing him a trial that could have brought the death penalty , Brian .

B. WILLIAMS: Pete Williams in our Washington bureau with the latest on this story tonight. Pete , thanks.