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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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