Al-Qaeda underwear bomber 'was undercover agent'
abercrombie saleA would-be suicide attacker in a foiled "underwear bomb" plot was an undercover agent, reports from the US say.US officials are quoted as saying that the person dispatched by Yemen-based al-Qaeda to attack a US-bound plane had infiltrated the group.In an apparent intelligence coup, the agent left Yemen with the device and delivered it to the CIA.Meanwhile, the Pentagon says it is sending military trainers back to Yemen to help counter al-Qaeda militants.US intelligence learned last month that militants with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen planned to attack a plane with a more sophisticated version of a bomb hidden in a passenger's underwear, similar to one used in a failed 2009 attempt, the Associated Press news agency reported.Officials told US media that the would-be bomber had been recruited by Saudi Arabia's intelligence agency and sent to Yemen where he infiltrated the militants' cell. The BBC's Steve Kingstone in Washington says the undercover agent was reportedly given an ambitious task by Saudi intelligence - to convince AQAP that he wanted to blow up himself and a US-bound aircraft.The agent was given the device which he then delivered to the CIA and Saudi officials.The New York Times reports that the agent is now safe in Saudi Arabia.FBI analysts are studying the device.The upgraded underwear bomb is described by officials as a "custom-fit" device, that would have been difficult to detect even with careful security checks. It is said to have two forms of detonator, unlike a similar bomb, from the same Yemeni source, that failed to explode on Christmas Day 2009.The main charge was a high-grade military explosive that "undoubtedly would have brought down an aircraft", an official told the New York Times.
abercrombie sale ukExperts quoted in the US media say both bombs bear the hallmarks of AQAP master bomb-maker Ibrahim Hassan Tali al-Asiri."The plot itself indicates that the terrorists keep trying... to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to India.Despite this, no changes in US airport security are expected, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said. "There is a concern that overseas security doesn't match ours," Mr Rogers said. "That's an ongoing challenge."Drone attack The agent also provided intelligence that led the CIA to conduct a drone strike in Yemen on Sunday that killed AQAP leader Fahd al-Quso, the New York Times reported.Quso was wanted in connection with the bombing of the American destroyer USS Cole in Yemen 12 years ago. The US was offering a $5m (￡3.1m) reward for information leading to his capture or death. US officials told ABC News that Quso had been planning an attack similar to the failed 2009 attempt to blow up a passenger plane.The device seized from Yemen shares some features with the bomb sewn into the underwear of would-be suicide bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab during that attempt, officials said.The Nigerian was arrested when his device failed to explode fully while on a plane bound for Detroit.Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Capt John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday that the US had "begun to reintroduce small numbers of trainers into Yemen"."We have been working with the government of Yemen and the Yemeni military for some time now to help them deal with the growing threat of al-Qaeda in Yemen," he added.Capt Kirby would not say how many trainers were involved or where they were based.Months of political upheaval in Yemen have left militants in control of large parts of the south of the country.
abercrombie ukWashington's military training programme in Yemen was suspended in 2011 after then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh was badly injured in a rocket attack.President Saleh gave way to his deputy, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, in February after more than a year of mass pro-democracy protests and bouts of open warfare between rival groups. A plot by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack a US-bound plane using an updated "underwear bomb" was foiled by an insider infiltrating a terror cell, US officials say.The seized device is being examined by the FBI in Quantico, Virginia, while the source is said to have left Yemen.The White House says the bomb was never an "active threat".Meanwhile, a senior US congressman has linked the plot to an al-Qaeda leader killed in Yemen on Sunday.Fahd al-Quso, a senior figure in Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed by a drone strike.In a separate development on Tuesday a Pentagon spokesman said the US had restarted military training with security forces in Yemen, which had been put on hold because of political unrest."We have begun to reintroduce small numbers of trainers into Yemen," Captain John Kirby told reporters, adding that they had been sent for "routine military-to-military co-operation".Saudi tip Speaking on Tuesday, White House counter-terrorism chief John Brennan would not be drawn on the nature of the operation to seize the device, instead describing the aim of the FBI investigation into the device."Now we're trying to make sure that we take the measures that we need to prevent any other type of IED [improvised explosive device], similarly constructed, from getting through security procedures," Mr Brennan said.Without giving specifics, the US says multiple overseas intelligence agencies were involved in the operation to seize the device.Reports did not detail which foreign agencies the insider was working with.However, reports have linked the device to a Saudi-born al-Qaeda bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, previously named as a key figure in the 2009 underwear bomb plot.
abercrombie and fitch ukA 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.Senior Yemeni officials say the government in Sanaa has no information on this particular plot, Reuters news agency reported on Tuesday.As details of the plot emerged in the US, officials said it appeared that AQAP leaders in Yemen had instructed a suicide bomber to board any flight of his choosing to the US with the bomb under his clothes.However, he had been stopped before reaching an airport.Reports say no target had been chosen and no plane tickets purchased by the time the alleged plot was foiled.Christmas Day attack Speaking late on Monday, Republican Congressman Peter King said late on Monday that the operation was linked to the strike that killed al-Quso. "I was told by the White House that they are connected, that they are part of the same operation," he said. Al-Quso was a leader of AQAP based in Yemen, and the US offered a $5m (￡3.1m) reward for information leading to his capture or death. US officials told ABC News that that al-Quso was planning an attack similar to a failed 2009 attempt to blow up a passenger plane.The alleged device seized from the Yemen cells shares some features with the bomb sewn into the underwear of would-be suicide bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab during that attempt, officials said.The Nigerian was arrested when his device failed to explode fully while on a plane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.A US intelligence official said the latest device bore the "hallmarks" of the 2009 underwear bomb, which was built by the Saudi militant Ibrahim al-Asiri.
abercrombie clothingReports said it was an improved model, with a more effective detonation system; it has no metal parts and probably would not have been detected by most airport security magnetometers.It is not even clear if it would have been found by the body scanners that have been installed in some US airports after that attempted attack three years ago. The US Transport Security Administration has sent reminders to some international airports and airlines that liquid explosives or regular explosives could be hidden inside people's bodies, clothes or in printer cartridges, the Associated Press reports. Abdulmutallab is reported to have told investigators he had links to al-Qaeda and had received his explosives in Yemen. Yemen denies this, saying they came from Nigeria.Last January he was indicted by a US grand jury on six charges, including the attempted murder of the plane's 290 passengers and crew, and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.In October, Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty at his trial, reportedly saying he was "guilty of this count in US law but not in the Koran". During earlier court appearances he made several outbursts, shouting "Anwar is alive" and "Osama is alive" - apparently referring to his al-Qaeda recruiter killed in a drone strike, and Osama Bin Laden, killed by US forces in May. He also pledged that militants would wipe out "the cancer US". His attempted attack led the US and other countries to boost security at airports around the world, including enhanced screening for travellers arriving from or through 14 countries considered to be high risk, including Yemen and Nigeria.