Thursday, April 19, 2018

Al-Qaida plot to bomb airliner thwarted, U.S. says

WASHINGTON — The CIA, working closely with foreign partners, thwarted a plot by the branch of al-Qaida in Yemen to smuggle an experimental bomb aboard an airliner bound for the United States, the New York Times reported Monday, citing unnamed intelligence officials.

The intelligence services detected the scheme as it took shape in mid April, the officials said, and the explosive device was seized about a week ago before it could be deployed. A suicide bomber had been chosen to wear the device under his clothes, but no airplane was ever in danger, the officials said.

It appeared that al-Qaida leaders had dispatched the would-be bomber from Yemen with instructions to board a flight to the United States but that he had been stopped before reaching an airport. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said counterterrorism officials said of the bomber: "We don't have to worry about him anymore." He is alive, officials said, but they would not say whether he is in foreign custody or where he is being held.

The disclosure was a worrisome sign that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula remains determined to attack the United States even after a CIA drone strike in Yemen in September killed two of its operatives who were U.S. citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share intelligence, said they believed the device was the work of the group's bombmaker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. He is believed to have designed the explosives used in two previous attempts to take down airliners bound for the United States, including one on Christmas 2009.

The plot was disclosed a day after a U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed Fahd al-Quso, who was wanted for the bombing of the USS Cole destroyer ship in Yemen in 2000.

Though the device was seized close to the May 2 anniversary of the killing of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, the officials said they had picked up no intelligence suggesting that the plot had been timed to the anniversary or motivated by revenge.

Officials would not explain the delay in revealing the plot, saying that discussing the case in too much detail could endanger counterterrorism operations.

The Associated Press, which broke the news Monday afternoon, said that it had uncovered the existence of the bomb last week, but that the White House and the CIA had asked it not to publish the news immediately because the intelligence operation was still under way.

The FBI said its explosive experts were conducting "technical and forensics analysis" on the device. It was designed to escape detection at airport security, U.S. officials said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the bomb was "a new design and very difficult to detect by magnetometer," the conventional type of metal detector still used in most world airports.

Comments
The Daystarter: Lightning one win away from advancing; Steve Persall rides off into retirement; talking ‘St. Pete Pier’ funding; meet the Times’ new business columnist

The Daystarter: Lightning one win away from advancing; Steve Persall rides off into retirement; talking ‘St. Pete Pier’ funding; meet the Times’ new business columnist

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• It’s more of the same with sunny skies and warm temperatures today. It’ll be a bit cooler at the beaches around the mid-70s, but east of Interstate 75 it will be in the mid to upper 8...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Joey Fatone’s hot dog food truck is coming to Plant City this weekend

Joey Fatone’s hot dog food truck is coming to Plant City this weekend

We're still a few weeks from Justin Timberlake's nearly sold-out concert in Tampa. Until then, you'll have to make do with Joey Fatone's hot dogs in Plant City.Timberlake's 'N SYNC bandmate has a burgeoning wiener empire in Orlando, Fat One's Hot Dog...
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 5:49 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 5:49 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
Berlin councilwoman wants to shut legendary Berghain club

Berlin councilwoman wants to shut legendary Berghain club

A local councilwoman in Berlin is being ridiculed online for proposing to close one of the city's most famous techno clubs because of partygoers' drug consumption, long opening hours and lascivious behavior on the dance floor
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trade issues expose the limits of Trump-Abe 'bromance'

Trade issues expose the limits of Trump-Abe 'bromance'

Trump rejects Abe's efforts to win a pass on tariffs for Japan and persuade US to rejoin TPP trade deal, showing the limits of their 'bromance'
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trade issues expose the limits of Trump-Abe 'bromance'

Trade issues expose the limits of Trump-Abe 'bromance'

Trump rejects Abe's efforts to win a pass on tariffs for Japan and persuade US to rejoin TPP trade deal, showing the limits of their 'bromance'
Updated: 1 hour ago

Authorities release airport CCTV footage of poisoned Russian

Russian investigators say they have traced back the steps of a poisoned Russian spy's daughter from her Moscow home to the airport before she flew to London and found no traces of poison
Updated: 1 hour ago
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba sets plans for Thailand

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba sets plans for Thailand

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to step up investments in Thailand
Updated: 1 hour ago

Australian bank charges dead client service fee for a decade

An Australian government inquiry has heard that financial advisers working for Australia's largest bank continued charging clients service fees after they died _ in one case for more than a decade
Updated: 1 hour ago

FIFA closes case of alleged racism in U17 World Cup final

FIFA has closed an investigation into a Spain player allegedly racially abusing an England opponent in the Under-17 World Cup final
Updated: 1 hour ago