Informant helps foil second underwear-bomb plot
WASHINGTON—A tip from an infiltrated terror cell in Yemen has helped U.S. intelligence agencies seize a second underwear bomb, deemed more sophisticated than the one used in an unsuccessful airplane bombing on Christmas Day in 2009.
A government official told CNN that the device was "non-metallic" like the previous underwear bomb, and would be difficult for U.S. airport security to discover, including the new full-body scanners. The plot was hatched by Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Though unconfirmed, reports have linked the new bomb to Ibrahim al-Asiri, the Saudi-born member of al Qaeda who is believed to be the bomb-maker who developed the infamous underwear bomb that failed to detonate above Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. "It is clear that AQAP is revamping its bomb techniques to try to avoid the causes of the failure of the 2009 device," the official told CNN.
However, U.S. government officials have said there are no immediate plans to implement new security measures at U.S. airports, according to the Associated Press, which broke the story late Monday.
Last month, the CIA received a tip from a well-placed informant in Yemen about the new bomb and the plot to use it against an airplane destined for the United States, according to the AP. However, a U.S. official told CNN that the tip came from Saudi Arabia. The recovery of the bomb has also been linked to the drone strike that killed Fahd al-Quso, a senior AQAP member, on Sunday, according to comments from Rep. Peter King cited by CNN. "I was told by the White House that they are connected, that they are part of the same operation," King said.
The FBI said in a statement that it is now in possession of the bomb and is conducting forensics analysis on it. The FBI also said the mission to obtain the "improvised explosive device" was "a result of close cooperation with our security and intelligence partners overseas."