Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab walked into a Detroit courtroom Tuesday morning and declared that "Anwar is alive," referring to Anwar al-Awlaki, the Islamic cleric killed by U.S. forces last week in Yemen.
"The mujahadeen will wipe out the U.S. - the cancer U.S.," he added.
Authorities say Abdulmutallab was instructed by al-Awlaki to board the Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam on Christmas Day 2009.
They say he wanted to detonate the bomb minutes before landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, but the bomb didn't work. Crew members saw flames and subdued Abdulmutallab.
Following treatments for burns to his groin area, Abdulmutallab told authorities he trained in Yemen under the direction of al-Awlaki. A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said al-Awlaki specifically directed Abdulmutallab to detonate an explosive device over U.S. airspace to maximize casualties.
The 24-year-old is acting as his own attorney. The judge has denied several of Abdulmutallab's requests for the trial, including that the case be judged under Islamic law.
Abdulmutallab has pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.