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Would-Be al-Qaida Bomber Was Double-Agent, Officials Say

It appears the CIA and its foreign partners have duped al-Qaida.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. and Yemeni officials say they learned last month that al-Qaida’s Yemen branch planned to use a new, nearly undetectable bomb to blow up an airliner bound for America. But the man the terrorists picked to sneak it aboard was actually working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence.

Before the attack had a chance to succeed, the would-be bomber had delivered the bomb intact to U.S. intelligence.

The FBI is still analyzing the explosive, which was intended to be concealed in a passenger’s underwear. Officials describe it as an upgrade over the bomb that failed to detonate on board an airplane on Christmas 2009. The new bomb contained no metal and used a chemical — lead azide — that was to be a detonator in a nearly successful 2010 plot to attack cargo planes.

Security procedures at U.S. airports remain unchanged. But the Transportation Security Administration sent advice to some international air carriers and airports about security measures that might stave off an attack from a hidden explosive.

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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