Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty Oct. 13 to attempting to blow up a Northwest Airline airplane over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. His plea, read aloud in court, was from a 16-page handwritten manifesto in which he warned the United States would suffer a "great calamity" for its treatment of Muslims.
Ruth Holmes, a Bloomfield Hills-based handwriting expert said Abdulmutallab's handwriting reveals a "frightening intelligence," The Detroit News reported Monday.
The characteristics shown in Abdulmutallab's tight, spidery penmanship also are evident in the writings of convicted terrorists, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Holmes said, adding those traits aren't unique to terrorists.
Abdulmutallab, 25, a native of Nigeria, sewed explosive chemicals into his underwear before boarding Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam.
Abdulmutallab's penmanship is a mixture of print and script, which Holmes called a "high form level of writing" that denotes rebellion, Holmes said.
"I think I was most astounded at the intelligence [shown] in this handwriting," Holmes said. "We find in this writing spacing between the lines, which is a sign of good judgment. Whatever his cause might be, it's still an indication that the person has a way to decide exactly what he's going to do."
Holmes told the News that Abdulmutallab's small letters and word spacing showed a singular focus.
"Any time we find small writing, you're talking about what I like to refer to as the eye of the eagle; it's the eagle that circles around and knows exactly what he wants to get," she said. "The writing is very, very purposeful, and it's very, very focused."