Feds: Underwear bomber texted with al-Qaida cleric

By ED WHITE | February 10, 2012 | 5:35 PM EST

DETROIT (AP) — The government has disclosed new details about the relationship between a Nigerian who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound plane and a man who is described as his mentor in the attempted act of terrorism.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO'-mahr fah-ROOK' ahb-DOOL'-moo-TAH'-lahb) faces a life sentence when he returns to court Thursday. In a filing Friday, prosecutors say he actively pursued al-Qaida figure Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2009.

The government says they first communicated through text message and eventually spent days together plotting to destroy a U.S.-bound jetliner. Prosecutors say the details were disclosed by Abdulmutallab during his talks with the FBI in 2010.

Al-Awlaki and the bomb maker were killed by a U.S. drone attack last year. He was an American-born cleric and one of the best-known al-Qaida figures.