Abdulmutallab arrived in Lagos, Nigeria December 24 from a flight originating in Ghana. He then flew to Amsterdam where he boarded a plane bound for Detroit on Christmas.
Details are scarce because "this is a security issue," James Agyenim-Boateng, the country's Deputy Information Minister, told CBS News. He said the FBI had been in the country since Saturday and that no arrests have been made as of yet.
Agyenim-Boateng said Abdulmutallab, upon arriving in Ghana Dec. 9 from Ethiopia, had listed one hotel where he was staying on his immigration form, but actually stayed in a different hotel.
Investigators, he said "have put that part of the puzzle together."
Timeline of Abdulmutallab's Actions
Ghana, the official said, was unhappy about not having information on Abdulmutallab after his father reported the young man's radical views on the United States and other foreign security agencies.
"Fighting terrorism is a collective responsibility of every country and it is therefore important that we share security information of this nature if we are to fight terrorism," Agyenim-Boateng told AFP earlier this week.
"If we have heard this information (given to the US embassy in Nigeria) from our Nigerian counterparts, the suspect would have been subjected to a more thorough screening," he said.
Special Report: The Christmas Day Terror Attack
In Detroit, Abdulmutallab is due in federal court Friday that he failed to detonate a chemical-laden explosive on the Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight. But with so much evidence stacked against him, experts say his defense team is left with few options as the case moves forward.
Attorneys outside the case say the 23-year-old's lawyers can challenge incriminating statements to the FBI, seek a mental-health exam for Abdulmutallab - and seriously consider a plea deal.
"This is not a case of mistaken identity or a whodunit. For the defense, it's damage control," said Joseph Niskar, a defense lawyer who was involved in a 2001 terrorism case in Detroit that fell apart for the government.
Former U.S. Attorney David Griem, who gave CBS News the government's perspective, agrees.
"This a no-lose trial for the prosecution... You have a combination of two factors; One, that the crime was so horrific and, two, overwhelming evidence," Griem told CBS News.
A federal grand jury on six charges, including one that could put him away for life: the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. That weapon, according to the government, was an explosive hidden under his clothing. The FBI says Abdulmutallab tried to detonate it with a syringe of chemicals.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama declared for the nation's security, taking responsibility for failures that led to the near-disastrous Christmas attack and vowed the problems would be corrected. He said the lapses were widespread but suggested no officials would be fired.
Mr. Obama didn't tell intelligence officials to dramatically change what they're doing. Instead, he told them to do it better, and faster. He left it to them to figure out how.
Clearly aware of the potential political fallout, Mr. Obama struck a tough tone toward the anti-terror fight, taking the rare step - for him - of calling it a "war."
More on Obama's Remarks and the Report:
Obama Commands Intel Community to Do Better
John Brennan: I Told Leiter to Take Leave
Brennan: Yemen's Al Qaeda Is "Lethal" and "Concerning"
Transcript: Obama on Intelligence Failures
Full Obama Video
Analysis from CBS News' Bob Schieffer and Bob Orr