Jessica: He pretended to be a member of al-Qaeda and volunteered to carry an improved version of an underwear bomb onto a plane headed to the U.S. But officials say that would-be suicide bomber was actually working for the CIA.
“This is an intelligence coup. The fact the CIA and partner intelligence agencies inside the al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula networks.”
Jessica: The double agent is said to be a citizen of Saudi Arabia. The agent may have saved hundreds of lives but unraveling al-Qaeda’s latest bomb operation was a tough decision for U.S. intelligence officials. The only way to be sure they controlled the plot was to have their own insider be the bomber. But that meant losing a source who had gained the trust of the terrorist organization.
“Our team has to get it right every time. The bad guys only have to get it right only one time. This time our guys got it right again.”
Jessica: Senator Saxby Chambliss is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He says this latest bombing attempt is a stark reminder that al-Qaeda is determined to hurt America. Had it worked, experts say the bomb explosion would have looked like this.
The double agent handed the bomb over to U.S. officials and the FBI is now examining the device. They say it contained no metal so would have passed through metal detectors at the airport. But new body scanners may have picked up on the explosive. Not every airport has body scanners. And some U.S. officials are worried that because airport security overseas is not always as thorough as here, the U.S. is still vulnerable to attack.
The latest bomb design is believed to be the work of Ibrihim al-Asiri, al-Qaeda’s explosives mastermind who was behind the December 2009 underwear bomb. And the explosives discovered in printer cartridges on cargo planes in 2010.
“Yes. He has talent. And he’s good at it.”
Jessica: And al-Asiri is reportedly training a new generation of bomb makers.
The Associated Press was the first to report on the foiled bomb plot, and that has angered some lawmakers. U.S. officials were worried about the safety of the double agent and his family, and wanted the operation kept secret while it was underway. Now, some in Congress are calling for an investigation into who leaked the story.
“We can’t have leaks. Leaks can kill people. Leaks can deter us from getting information. That’s not what intelligence is about.”
Jessica: Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.