US wants Qaeda bomb maker dead

2012-05-13 22:42

kalahari.com

Washington - Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the top security threat to the United States and the bomb maker thought to have created at least two non-metallic explosive devices must be killed to safeguard US national security, a top senator said on Sunday.

"I am hopeful that we will be able to, candidly, kill this bomb maker and kill some of these other associates, because there is a dangerous process in play at the present time," Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News Sunday.

The bombs, intended to be smuggled aboard an aircraft undetected and then detonated, bear the forensic signature of suspected al-Qaeda bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is believed to be hiding in Yemen, officials have said.

They said a bomb obtained in a recent intelligence operation appeared to be an upgraded version of the so-called "underwear bomb" that failed to bring down a passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

A bomber from the al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen sent to blow up a US-bound airliner last month was actually a double agent who infiltrated the group and volunteered for the suicide mission, intelligence agency officials have confirmed.

Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency, working with British intelligence and the CIA, placed the operative inside al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, with the goal of convincing his handlers to give him a new type of non-metallic bomb for the mission, officials said.

Western intelligence agencies have identified AQAP as among the most dangerous and determined al Qaeda affiliates in the world, dedicated in part to attacks on the West.

The double agent arranged instead to deliver the device to US and other intelligence authorities waiting outside Yemen, the officials said.

The main charge was a high-grade military explosive that "undoubtedly would have brought down an aircraft," the New York Times reported, citing a senior US official.

Leak dangerous

Feinstein said a leak early last week on the operation to the Associated Press "is very serious."

"The leak did endanger sources and methods, and the leak I think has to be prosecuted."

" ... It gives a tip off to AQAP to be more careful about who they use as their couriers, as their bombers. ... Criminal charges will go to the Department of Justice."

Representative Peter King, chair of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, told CNN's State of the Union the premature leak of the operation to the AP was criminal and damaging.

"The FBI has to do a full and complete investigation because this really is criminal in the literal sense of the word to leak out this type of sensitive, classified information on really almost unparalleled penetration of the enemy," King said.

"This was more secret than any operation I'm familiar with, even more secret than [the assassination of Osama] bin Laden." Yet "the Associated Press apparently had the entire story".

The leak put lives at risk and the operation had to be cut short, King said. "It sends a signal to countries willing to work with us that we can't be trusted to keep a secret if in fact we are the ones who leaked it out."

"I think there was a bit of premature chest-thumping in this whole thing," Representative Mike Rogers, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS's Face the Nation.

"No national security operation ever should be used for a headline under any circumstances," suggesting someone with ties to the intelligence community had sought political gain from the operation.

Feinstein was asked if current screening technology would necessarily identify this kind of bomb on an airline passenger. "For this particular material," she said, "candidly, no".

"I think Americans have to understand that this particular kind of explosive, non-metallic, is not easily detectable."

Consequently the flying public is going to have to tolerate more invasive searches, she said. "The American public has not been terribly sympathetic" to this, she said, but "it's very important that TSA [the Transportation Security Administration] keeps up its efforts."

Read more on:    aqap  |  al-qaeda  |  us  |  yemen  |  us terror threat  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The quest for understanding has reached a new intense emotional level. The more tempestuous your emotions are, the bigger the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.