The suicide bomber who was supposed to board a U.S.-bound plane to blow up a bomb on board in April was actually an infiltrated Saudi intelligence agent working with the C.I.A., says the Associated Press.
In a story worthy of a 007 film, the agent was able to deliver to the C.I.A. the bomb, plans and other information about the affiliate of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, where he spent several years cooperating with the C.I.A., including providing precise information on the location of Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Al-Quso, who was killed by a C.I.A. drone strike in Yemen on Sunday. The agent, whose name has not been disclosed, has since been moved to a safe location in Saudi Arabia.
An American congressmen quoted by The New York Times commented about the Associated Press reporting on the operation, even after the agency kept the story secret for days under a C.I.A. request, reflecting fears from U.S. intelligence officials that foreign intelligence agencies may not cooperate with the Americans in the future.
From The New York Times:
“We are talking about compromising methods and sources and causing our partners to be leery about working with us,” said Mr. King, who spoke with reporters about the plot on Monday night and Tuesday after he was briefed by counterterrorism officials. Mr. King, who called the bomb plot “one of the most tightly held operations I’ve seen in my years in the House,” said he was told that government officials planned to investigate the source of the original leak. The C.I.A. declined to comment.
Intelligence officials believe that the explosive is the latest effort of the group’s skilled bomb maker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Mr. Asiri is also believed to have designed the explosives used in the failed bombing attempt on an airliner over Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009, and packed into printer cartridges and placed on cargo planes in October 2010.