A covert CIA operation in Yemen intercepted an 'undetectable' bomb intended to blow up an airplane. Authorities suspect it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Al-Asiri, who built the first underwear bomb.
US bomb experts are picking apart a sophisticated new Al Qaeda improvised explosive device, a top Obama administration counterterrorism official said Tuesday, to determine if it could have slipped past airport security and taken down a commercial airplane.
Officials told The Associated Press a day earlier that discovery of the unexploded bomb represented an intelligence prize resulting from a covert CIA operation in Yemen, saying that the intercept thwarted a suicide mission around the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
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 device is an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. Officials said this new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger's underwear, but this time Al Qaeda developed a more refined detonation system.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, said Tuesday the discovery shows Al Qaeda remains a threat to US. security a year after bin Laden's assassination. And he attributed the breakthrough to "very close cooperation with our international partners."
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