News24

US thwarts new al-Qaeda plane bomb plot

2012-05-07 23:34

Washington - The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a US-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, The Associated Press has learned.

The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jet over Detroit on 25 December 2009.

This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger's underwear, but this time al-Qaeda developed a more refined detonation system, US officials said.

The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an aircraft, officials said.

They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.

The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought his plane tickets when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It's not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.

Assurance

The operation unfolded even as the White House and department of homeland security assured the American public that they knew of no al-Qaeda plots against the US around the anniversary of bin Laden's death on 2 May.

"We have no credible information that terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda, are plotting attacks in the US to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death," White House press secretary Jay Carney said on 26 April.

On 1 May, the department of homeland security said, "We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the US tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death."

The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week, but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way.

Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot on Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement on Tuesday.

US officials, who were briefed on the operation, insisted on anonymity to discuss the case, which the US has never officially acknowledged.

Master bomb maker

It's not clear who built the bomb, but, because of its sophistication and its similarity to the Detroit bomb, authorities suspected it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri.

Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others that al-Qaeda built into printer cartridges and shipped to the US on cargo planes in 2010.

Both of those bombs used a powerful industrial explosive. Both were nearly successful.

The operation is an intelligence victory for the United States and a reminder of al-Qaeda's ambitions, despite the death of bin Laden and other senior leaders.

Because of instability in the Yemeni government, the terrorist group's branch there has gained territory and strength. It has set up terrorist camps and, in some areas, even operates as a de facto government.

But along with the gains there also have been losses.

The group has suffered significant setbacks as the CIA and the US military focus more on Yemen.

On Sunday, Fahd al-Quso, a senior al-Qaeda leader, was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle along with another operative in the southern Shabwa province of Yemen.

$5m bounty

Al-Quso, 37, was on the FBI's most wanted list, with a $5m reward for information leading to his capture. He was indicted in the US for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the harbour of Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured.

Al-Quso was believed to have replaced Anwar al-Awlaki as the group's head of external operations.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a US air strike last year.


Comments
  • Eric - 2012-05-07 23:53

    Great work by the CIA! Keep it up and keep the skies safe for innocent passengers - eliminate these rabid dogs!

  • Eric - 2012-05-07 23:54

    Great work by the CIA! Keep it up and keep the skies safe for innocent passengers - eliminate these rabid dogs!

  • Eric - 2012-05-07 23:54

    Great work by the CIA! Keep it up and keep the skies safe for innocent passengers - eliminate these rabid dogs!

      ???? ??????? - 2012-05-08 02:32

      yes

      John - 2012-05-08 04:14

      Not that i don't believe this story, but one must bear in mind that it is an election year and Obama is riding on the glory of ordering the hit on Osama. Panetta who is dedicated to his reelection, might just fabricate a panic story to show Obama has his eye on the ball. Americans are paranoia(don't blame them)about new strikes. Obama also has to divert peoples attention away from all the White House failings and shenanigans of late. Romney is going to be hammering him on home security and the deficit, not to forget Eric Holder and the Fast and Furious debacle he won't come clean on.

      wesleywt - 2012-05-08 05:56

      Hey conspiracy nuts. You are a conspiracy nut if you don't have evidence to back your claims. You become legit when you do.

      Merven - 2012-05-08 08:07

      Yes JohnB, and the World Trade Centre attack was a hoax and Santa is actually the true leader of the 7 people of the Freemasons, busy taking over the world.

  • Walter - 2012-05-08 05:28

    The article begs the question, "Are they (CIA) withholding information from the White House due to Obama's suspected sympathies with you know who?"

  • wesleywt - 2012-05-08 05:54

    New TSA regulations. Please strip down to your undies when walking through the body scanner (which doesn't really work, but we spent billions on it anyway).

  • Amos Morwape - 2012-05-08 06:49

    I think this war will only end when all americans are killed.

      Dave - 2012-05-08 07:31

      Hey Amos, you aren't by any chance another one of these models that we have been hearing so much about on twitter, are you??? Surely not.

      Frank - 2012-05-08 08:33

      hsebolelo These days people tend to not die from a stone throwing fool doing the toi-toi tango in a street near you! Americans are really naive but even they will laugh you off the face of the earth when you confront them with your hu-hu song. Chop!!

  • Michael - 2012-05-08 07:07

    Here's fact: The press is owned by the allied industrial military complex. It lies. I don't believe a damn thing about anything on arabs printed by the American/British press.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-05-08 07:23

      Michael, ""Here's fact: The press is owned by the 'allied industrial military' complex"" Michael, you stand a very good chance, to win the May 2012 "MOST CRAZY COMMENT" Well done ! Keep it up !!

      Merven - 2012-05-08 08:08

      Any 'proof' of this so called 'fact'?

      Matt - 2012-05-08 08:54

      I don't agree but it may as well be. Mainstream media today is uselessly corrupt, it seems all news today tries to sell you their agenda. What the hell happened to objective reporting? All I see is spin and propaganda.

      Diana - 2012-05-08 12:53

      @Merven: what is said on American media doesnt need any proof its a gospel.

      cyanideandhappiness - 2012-05-08 14:09

      Well said Michael, but I think a more accurate thing to say would be "Don't believe a damn thing about anything in the press".

  • Suleiman - 2012-05-08 07:36

    Cant believe that people are still buying into the US propaganda. Its amazing that in the absence of evidence the media still publishes this balony as fact.

      Diana - 2012-05-08 12:51

      Dont you see how many dislikes you got just now? Just accept them as a part of existence:)

      Diana - 2012-05-08 12:52

      I'll give u one like from myself:)

  • matewis1 - 2012-05-08 07:39

    "It's not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber." One way ticket to Gitmo...

      Merven - 2012-05-08 08:08

      Hopefully they torture the living shait out of him.

  • les.cunningham1 - 2012-05-08 07:59

    News24, please tell me why you duplicate statements in your reporting. is it just to fill space? or what? "We have no credible information that terrorist organisations, including al-Qaeda, are plotting attacks in the US to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death," White House press secretary Jay Carney said on 26 April. On 1 May, the department of homeland security said, "We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the US tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death."

  • niki.wessels - 2012-05-08 08:11

    I see the two underwear bombs they've found nearly worked. Let's hope the next underwear bomb goes off - just very, very slightly, with a reach of only a few inches...

  • tshivhombelaf - 2012-05-08 08:21

    Hypothetical enemy, right.

      hvanderlinde - 2012-05-08 08:33

      Always some "Enemy" to defend against. They want to be the undisputed world super power and that starts with having the largest, most adavanced, best supported millitary in the world.

  • hvanderlinde - 2012-05-08 08:31

    This is how the US goverment ensures that the american tax payer does not complain when billions are spent to "defend" america. If the population lives in fear they will gladly oblidge. All the americans care about is strenthening their millitary but without these random acts of terrorism againt the USA they will have no justification for the amounts of money they use.

  • Jeremy - 2012-05-08 09:13

    BOLLOCKS!! Lies!!! - And before you make an ass of yourself and say that I need evidence to back up my realisation - go look at ALL the evidence available. Just because you have limited exposure to the tonnes of info freely available does not make you right in your unconscious perspective of whats happening in the world...

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-08 10:35

    The CIA...... of course we talking about the same idiots who less than a week ago were saying that al-Qaeda was dead in the water as an organisation. Little wonder the US had to deal with 9/11, their intelligence systems suck.

      Diana - 2012-05-08 14:39

      They did not suck they were standing by and watching the show.

  • Diana - 2012-05-08 12:49

    At first they suspected the threat than reassured everyone there wouldnt be any bombing cause "did not detect" and as a final blow the have caught a terrorist. What a brilliant scenario, Obama bravo! P.S. US cannot live without terrorists, americans need them as bad as air to breathe to justify their conquerors' politics around the world as well as waste of billions in $ on defense.

      Diana - 2012-05-08 12:54

      @myself:excuse my wrong typing, please:)

  • cyanideandhappiness - 2012-05-08 14:12

    The CIA and the FBI have been caught supporting and entrapping so called terrorists, although the accurate word is "patsy", making sure they end up on the front page of the news before pulling them in. It's election year, and the American public needs to be scared into submission once again so they turn to the rock star Obama and give him another 4 years to rape their country. Everything you think you know about the world is a lie.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-05-08 15:03

    The crazies are out in droves today. :)

  • Dhavandran - 2012-05-09 08:23

    how uncanny it is that for the 911 attack we had a citizen videoing the incident. of all the days the planes flew overhead he did not video but this particular day he had the whole episode from the angle the 1st plane approached to the second plane. hey he must have special powers.

      Diana - 2012-05-09 11:26

      He's been waiting for a command.

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