Al-Qaida Attempts To Use Underwear Bomb On Anniversary Of Bin Laden's Death
It has been about one year since Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. Navy Seals. In honor of the first anniversary of his death, an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen was involved in plotting to destroy an airliner headed for the United States. This took place even though the White House and Department of Homeland Security had stated that they had no knowledge of a plot against the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death. Luckily, the CIA unraveled this terror plot before the plan was able to fully materialize.
Government officials have since learned that this terrorist plan involved having a suicide bomber board a plane headed for the U.S. wearing an upgraded version of the original underwear bomb. This type of bomb, appropriately named, is designed to be concealed in a passenger's underwear. It is very similar to the underwear bomb found on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner in Detroit on Christmas of 2009. However, this new bomb was said to have a much more advanced detonation system.
The CIA confirms that the Yemen suicide bomber had not yet chosen a target destination or purchased his plane tickets when he was captured and the bomb was confiscated. More information about the would-be bomber was not released as of yet. However, al-Qaida seems to be stepping up lately. Experts predict this has something to do with avenging the deaths of bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, one of the al-Qaida leaders who, ironically, was involved in many attacks on American targets, including the Christmas 2009 underwear bomb attack.
At the moment, nobody knows who built this newest bomb. There are suspicions that it might have been constructed by Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is well known for building sophisticated bombs. This is the same man who also helped build the first underwear bomb and has also been credited with building two other bombs that were shipped to the U.S. in 2010, disguised as printer cartridges on a cargo flight. If he didn't build this bomb, it is likely that the person who did was taught how to build it by al-Asiri.
They are still examining this newest bomb to see if they can determine if it could have actually made it through airport security and on to an airplane. Supposedly, the bomb did not contain any metal, which means it most likely could have passed through the airport metal detectors. The new design of this underwear bomb is shaped to fit perfectly inside underwear and therefore could probably even pass through pat downs by airport security. Whether or not it would have made it past the body scanning technology now found at airports is yet to be determined.
More information about the technical aspects of this bomb should be released after the FBI finishes conducting a full forensics analysis on it. In the meantime, there are no urgent plans to change or upgrade airport security procedures. Instead, there are some reports that additional air marshals have been sent to Europe and assigned to protect flights headed for the United States.
Although the White House and CIA learned about this possible terrorist attack well before it was supposed to happen, they did not publish the information right away because they were still trying to access more intelligence on the operation. In a press conference at the Pentagon Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, "The U.S. has to continue to remain vigilant against those who would seek to attack this country and we will do everything necessary to keep America safe."