Tuesday, 8 May 2012

AbdulMuttalab Pant: CIA thwarts second underwear bomber attempt


Farouk after failed attempt in 2009. -CNN photo
In what looks like an improved device as compared to the Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab under pant bomb in December 2009; the CIA has foiled a second attempt to down a U.S. airliner by means of an underwear bomber; this device was more sophisticated than the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt over Detroit in 2009; the new bomb contains no metal, making it likely it will avoid detection at airport security checkpoints.

A story from the Homeland Security News wire gave the insight on how the CIA in collaboration with other International agencies thwarted the attempt to attack the US interest.

The CIA has foiled a second attempt to down a U.S. airliner by means of an underwear bomber. This device was more sophisticated than the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt over Detroit in 2009. The 2009 scheme was inspired by Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed in a CIA drone strike in Yemen last September.

This new bomb, currently in the hands of the FBI, is similar in construction but includes a more sophisticated detonation mechanism. It also contains no metal, making it likely it will avoid detection at airport security checkpoints. It is not currently known whether the device would have been discovered by a full-body scanner.

It is not clear who built the bomb, but, because of its sophisticated modifications and its similarity to the Christmas bomb of 2009, counterterrorism officials suspected it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri or one of his protégées. Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others which al Qaeda built into printer cartridges and shipped to the United States on cargo planes in 2010.

According to Fox News, the intended suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or purchased a plane ticket when the CIA stepped in and took control of the device. It is also unclear what happened to the intended bomber.

A U.S. official told Fox News that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) remains “committed to striking targets in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, the Homeland, and Europe. And AQAP is probably feeling pressure to conduct a successful attack to, from their perspective, avenge the deaths of bin Laden and Awlaki.”
“We have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden’s death,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on 26 April.
 
The Associated Press learned about the operation last week, but the Obama administration requested that AP withhold releasing the news, since the sensitive intelligence operation was still underway.
On Sunday, Fahd al Quso was killed by a drone missile strike as he stepped from his car. Al Quso was wanted by the FBI for his role as mastermind of the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and was believed to have become AQAP’s head of operations following the killing of al Awlaki.
“The device never presented a threat to public safety, and the U.S. government is working closely with international partners to address associated concerns with the device,” the FBI said in a statement.
 
Some maintain that the government statements of reassurance were based on the fact that the CIA had already thwarted the plot some time ago, and had the explosive device under its control.

Culled from the Homeland Security News Wire

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