The CIA has thwarted a terror plot to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner around the anniversary of the death of Osama Bin Laden
The plot was apparently thwarted before any Americans were put in danger. The incident involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger's underwear, but this time the terror group developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said.
This sort of plot shows that Al-Qaeda affiliates, like Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, are intent on targeting America in the same way their parent organization had.
PolicyMic pundit Mutale Pamela Kapekele reports these “Bin Laden disciple groups” pose a grave danger to U.S. security.
As Kapekele explains, Al-Qaeda didn't die with Osama Bin Laden and to truly destroy the terror network, attention must now be turned to the mentor groups and terror group off shoots which Al-Qaeda fostered.
The insight into Bin Laden’s failure to control his "disciples" is a strong indication that the battle against Al-Qaeda is far from over. The Bin Laden papers released last week show that these smaller networks each have their own targets, and that this means the group’s perceived enemies are more diversified than originally thought.
Some of the papers suggest Bin Laden ordered his militants to look out for opportunities to assassinate President Obama or David Petraeus during any of their visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Petraeus, now CIA director, formerly commanded international forces in Afghanistan.
But Bin Laden warned them not to bother targeting Vice President Joe Biden because "Biden is totally unprepared for that post [of president], which will lead the U.S. into a crisis."
While Bin Laden focused on harming only the U.S., his minions have different grievances, and still believe in causes that call for future terrorist attacks.
“What we have really seen is the fragmenting of al-Qaeda into smaller, more regional operatives,” notes Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent. “There is no question that Al-Qaeda is much less dangerous than it was 10 years ago, but it would be foolish to say they have launched their last attack.”
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.
The operation unfolded even as the White House and Department of Homeland Security assured the American public that they knew of no al-Qaida plots against the U.S. around the anniversary of bin Laden's death.
Apparently, media outlets including the Associated Press learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish the story immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way.
The Obama administration will make an official announcement Tuesday.