While Mutallab was poorly dressed, his friend was dressed in an expensive suit, Haskell said. He says the suited man asked ticket agents whether Mutallab could board without a passport. “The guy said, 'He's from Sudan and we do this all the time.'”
Mutallab is Nigerian. Haskell believes the man may have been trying to garner sympathy for Mutallab's lack of documents by portraying him as a Sudanese refugee.
The ticket agent referred Mutallab and his companion to her manager down the hall, and Haskell didn't see Mutallab again until after he allegedly tried to detonate an explosive on the plane.
(...)“I stood up and walked a couple feet ahead to get a closer look, and that's when I saw the flames,” said Haskell, who sat about seven rows behind Mutallab. “It started to spread pretty quickly. It went up the wall, all the way to ceiling.”
“He didn't fight back at all. This wasn't a big skirmish,” Haskell said. “A couple guys jumped on him and hauled him away.”
Didn't fight back at all. Sounds like he was just "doing as he was told". Apparently, however, they neglected to teach him to lie, to pretend something else was the case.
Or did he realize that, since he apparently already demonstrated his attempt to blow up the plane, that lying would be futile this time?
Surely the "innocent, profiled Muslim" schtick wouldn't work this time. Once one has attempted and failed and been caught, one's totally up shee-it creek and the best option is to cooperate.
He was ready to die, anyway. So it doesn't matter to him what happens to him now, though apparently maximum cooperation will probably be in his interests. This is an advantage for counterterrorists and an inconvenience for the Men Behind the Terrorism Plotting Curtain.