Agencies had enough intelligence to foil plane plot but failed to “connect the dots”.
Abdulmutallab was overpowered by other passengers.
The charges come a day after Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, told reporters that Abdulmutallab had given intelligence to US officials just hours after his arrest on December 25.
“[Abdulmutallab] was taken from the plane in Detroit. FBI interrogators spent quite some time with him,” Gibbs said on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to get into all the specifics, but I think they would agree he has provided – in those interrogations – useful intelligence.”
In the wake of the incident, US authorities have announced tighter security checks on US-bound flights, sparking anger among countries placed on a “watch list”.
The new measures would affect US-bound passengers from Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, which Washington considers state sponsors of terrorism, and 10 other “countries of interest”, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen.
Abdulmutallab was allowed to board a plane in both Lagos and Amsterdam.
This happened despite US intelligence agencies and the state department having received information that many critics have said should have seen him placed on a so-called “no-fly” list.
Barack Obama, the US president, has said the system of so-called watch lists of potential suspects would be reviewed in light of the attempted attack.