American and other officials have reportedly confirmed Monday’s foiled underwear bomb attack on a US airliner was an undercover espionage coup.
It seems the bomber was in fact a Saudi secret agent working closely with the CIA, who had infiltrated Yemen’s al-Qaeda operation.
The news had been supressed for at least a week to allow the man’s family to be moved to a safe location, and to allow a crucial drone strike in Yemen on Sunday that allegedly killed the organisation’s External Operations director.
“By having the bomb in his original state before it goes off, the US experts now are able to figure out how the bomb works, how it might be detected, that is a heck of a lot of easier when the bomb is still intact,” says former National Security Advisor Richard Clarke.
The FBI is still analysing the explosive, which is said to be an upgrade of a type that failed to explode in 2009 over Detroit. The bomb contained no metal, and employed a lead azide chemical detonator used in a thwarted 2010 attack on cargo planes.