by Chi Ibe
The US government recently released information that a more sophisticated version of the device used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in the Christmas Day bombing was recovered before take-off in Yemen.
The plan to blow up a US-bound aircraft using an underwear bomb came around the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s killing by US forces. Although investigations are still ongoing, the FBI confirmed that the device did not contain metal, which means it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector.
Sky News reported that the would-be suicide bomber was told to buy a ticket on the airliner of his choosing and decide the timing of the attack. But before he could pick his target, the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb.
“As a result of close cooperation with our security and intelligence partners overseas, an improvised explosive device (IED) designed to carry out a terrorist attack has been seized abroad.
“The FBI currently has possession of the IED and is conducting technical and forensic analysis on it.
“Initial exploitation indicates that the device is very similar to IEDs that have been used previously by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in attempted terrorist attacks, including against aircraft and for targeted assassinations.
“The device never presented a threat to public safety, and the US Government is working closely with international partners to address associated concerns with the device.”
It is not clear who built the bomb, but, because of its sophistication and its similarity to the Abdulmutallab Detroit device, authorities suspect it was the work of Ibrahim Hassan al Asiri.
The White House said the plot never posed any risk to the public.