The 21st Century Phenomenon




The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, in Abbottabad Raid, The Associated Press reported on Monday 05/07/2012.

The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard Flight-253 over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger’s underwear, but this time AQAP developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said.

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

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 U.S. around the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, on 05/01/2011.

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 Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday.

Yemen-based Ibrahim H. al-Asiri is credited with constructing the first underwear bomb and two other devices built into printer cartridges and shipped to the USA on cargo planes in 2010 (see -Mailed Bombs Plot). A US intelligence official said the latest device bore the “hallmarks” of Ibrahim al-Asiri. The plot was foiled by an insider infiltrating a terror cell, US officials said. The seized device is being examined by the FBI in Quantico, Virginia, while the source is said to have left Yemen.

A US intelligence source told CNN the latest plan was thwarted two weeks ago following a tip from Saudi Arabia, heightening suggestions that Saudi intelligence operatives could have been involved. According to some other sources the Saudi intelligence informant smuggled the underwear bomb to Saudi Arabia, allegedly for use, and handed the bomb over to his operators in the Saudi intelligence.


* A senior AQAP operative Fahd al-Quso was killed by a CIA UAV missile attack, on 05/06/2012, a day before the new plot was publicly exposed. He was, most likely, related to the plot. Indeed, speaking late on Monday, Republican Congressman Peter King said that the operation was linked to the strike that killed Fahd al-Quso.


** According to further details in the press, on Thursday 05/10/2012, the Saudi agent was actually an UK citizen from Saudi descent. Abu X was born in Saudi Arabia but grew up in Europe before obtaining a British passport. Abu X was radicalised before being “turned” and recruited by secret agents in mid 2011. Sources told US news: “British intelligence services should be congratulated.” Abu X was recruited initially by the MI5 but , through cooperation between the British Intelligence service, the MI6, and the Saudi intelligence Abu X was actually handled by the Saudis. Having a British passport , which granted Abu X a free enter to USA as well as a free travel almost all over the world , he was very attractive for Al Qaeda to carry out international operations.

Abu X managed to infiltrate Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP, to gain the trust of AQAP’S leaders and to convince them he is ready to commit a suicide attack in an airliner bound to USA using his British passport. When Abu X was given the new sophisticated underwear bomb and smuggled back to Saudi Arabia he handed the bomb onto British handlers and their Saudi colleagues. The underwear bomb is now in the hands of US bomb experts at FBI labs. The infiltrator Abu X is also safely out of Yemen.

Abu X also provided intelligence that led the CIA to conduct a drone strike in Yemen on Sunday that killed AQAP leader Fahd al-Quso.



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