CIA Thwarts New, More Sophisticated Underwear Bomber

The CIA has thwarted a new plot that sought to blow up an American airliner using a new, more sophisticated underwear bomb. The plot was hatched by an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen.

The Associated Press was the first to report the story and Reuters and CNN are now confirming. Both news organizations are running the story quoting unnamed government officials.

Here’s the AP with the meat of it:

“The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Dec. 25, 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger’s underwear, but this time al-Qaida developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said.

“The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said 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 would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought his plane tickets when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It’s not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.”

Reuters adds that no airliner was ever at risk.

CNN reports that the plot hatched to coincide with the killing of Osama bin Laden and had the signs of al-Qaida’s master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. CNN also adds that the device was recovered.

Update at 5:01 p.m. ET. White House Knew In April:

In a statement, the White Says the president was told about the “IED plot” in April by White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan. The President was “assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public.”

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.