Another underwear bomber attack has been foiled, thanks to the courageous CIA:
CIA disrupts airline bomb plot
The CIA and overseas intelligence partners disrupted an al-Qaeda plot to blow up civilian aircraft using an advanced explosive device designed by the terrorist network’s affiliate in Yemen, U.S. officials said Monday.
President Obama was made aware of the threat in April, U.S. officials said, and the plot was stopped before any aircraft or passengers could be put in danger. Obama “was assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public,” said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
U.S. officials said that the FBI is examining the device — modeled on the “underwear bomb” used in an attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009 — to determine whether airport security systems would have detected it.
U.S. officials said the CIA and other agencies tracked the plot for about a month before moving to seize the device in recent days in the Middle East outside Yemen, where the bomb was built.
Officials said that the bomb or its components were in transit when intercepted, but that the device was not seized at an airport and that al-Qaeda had yet to target a specific flight, let alone take steps to smuggle the explosive onboard.
U.S. officials declined to provide key details about the plot, citing concern about protecting sensitive intelligence sources and operations. Officials would not say whether a suspect had been caught or specify where the device was seized.
The timing of the alleged terrorist plot coincides with a major escalation of the clandestine U.S. drone campaign in Yemen. U.S. officials said the explosive appears to have been assembled by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, a Yemen-based affiliate that has been linked to high-profile attacks against the United States.
“AQAP is the responsible group here,” said a senior U.S. official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to share sensitive intelligence. “We believe AQAP produced the device, and we believe it was intended to be used by a suicide bomber on an aircraft.”
In addition to the 2009 airliner bombing plot, AQAP has been tied to an unsuccessful 2010 attempt to mail parcels packed with explosives to addresses in Chicago and a 2009 attack in Saudi Arabia in which a suicide bomber was killed during a gruesome attempt to assassinate the kingdom’s top counterterrorism official, Mohammed bin Nayef.
Bomb ‘difficult to detect’
U.S. officials said the new device was designed to overcome technical problems and detection schemes that had thwarted previous AQAP plans. The bomb was built with a more advanced detonator than the one that fizzled during the foiled Christmas Day attack, in which the would-be bomber, Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was subdued by other passengers alarmed by plumes of smoke rising from his seat.
The new device was also devoid of metal or telltale components, meaning that it might have been difficult for any but the most sophisticated airport security systems to detect.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, described the device as “a specific type of bomb that is of new design and very difficult to detect by magnetometer.”