News / USA

CIA Prevents Al-Qaida Suicide Plane Attack

Experts say bomb was a redesign of an explosive underwear device intended to blow up a jet flying to US on Christmas 2009

Meredith Buel
U.S. officials say a double agent infiltrated al-Qaida in Yemen to carry out an airline suicide mission, but turned his explosives over to American and Saudi intelligence, along with information that resulted in a successful airstrike against an al-Qaida leader in Yemen. U.S. government officials say the bomb plot is no longer a serious threat.


Working closely with foreign partners, the CIA prevented a plot to put a suicide bomber on a U.S.-bound jet with the explosives concealed in the bomber’s underwear.

White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan:

“We’re confident that neither the device nor the intended user of this device posed a threat," he said.

U.S. experts say the bomb was a redesign of an explosive underwear device intended to blow up a jet flying to the U.S. on Christmas 2009.

The bomb was made to evade airport security according to Katherine Zimmerman of the American Enterprise Institute.

“The bomb itself contained no metal so most of the airport security devices would not have picked it up," she said. "This is concerning because it means the bomb could have slipped through security measures on to an airplane.”

Authorities suspect the latest bomb is the work of Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who has been linked to several bombing attempts and has ties to al-Qaida in Yemen.

The FBI has demonstrated what would happen if similar bombs detonated successfully.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

“The plot itself indicates that these terrorists keep trying, they keep trying to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people," said Clinton.

Reportedly, the U.S. has increased the number of federal air marshals on flights bound to the U.S.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta:
 
“What this incident makes clear is that this country has to continue to remain vigilant against those that would seek to attack this country, and we will do everything necessary to keep America safe," he said.

Since Arab uprisings across the Middle East began last year, insurgents connected to Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have been seizing territory in southern Yemen.

Analysts say this increases the operating space for the terrorists and makes attacks on Western targets more likely.

Recent drone strikes have killed some of the group’s leaders, but that has not stopped the organization’s ability to plot against the U.S.
Again, Katherine Zimmerman:

“Though we have been successful in taking out top AQAP leadership, the group has been able to regenerate and still poses a significant threat to the United States," she said.

Analysts believe AQAP is setting up new training camps in Yemen, and remains the most active and dangerous threat to the United States.   
 

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More