Al Qaeda mag: Airline plots a "good bargain"
(CBS News) The author of al Qaeda's latest bomb-making magazine said that the terror group will continue to pursue attempts to blow up U.S. jetliners and isn't concerned that such plots might be foiled because they represent "such a good bargain."
Abdullah Zul Bejadayn, believed to be a Saudi explosives expert who has been featured in previous bomb-making video tutorials, said in the second edition of "Al Qaeda Airlines" that the militants "do not mind at all in this stage if [plots] are intercepted. It is such a good bargain for us to spread fear amongst the enemy and keep him on his toes in exchange [for] a few months of work and a few thousand bucks."
A double agent working with U.S., Saudi and British intelligence recently infiltrated al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and thwarted a plan to use an underwear bomb to attack a U.S.-bound airplane - a plot similar to a failed attack on Christmas Day 2009. The agent volunteered to carry out the suicide mission, which originated in Yemen, and instead delivered the updated non-metallic explosive device to American officials.
The latest al Qaeda publication outlines major plots from the last decade -the shoe-bomb plot in 2001, the attacks in Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005, respectively, among others - and discusses materials frequently used in constructing bombs and techniques for avoiding security, though Bejadayn said he "was instructed not to give much detail as the enemy is watching us closely in a bid to get a clearer picture."
CBS News national security correspondent Bob Orr reports that U.S. officials are aware of the publication but say it's not news that al Qaeda continues to target U.S. aviation. The recently thwarted plot out of Yemen demonstrates that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is working to develop explosives that can be smuggled past aviation checkpoints and onto U.S.-bound flights.
The chief bomb-maker for AQAP, Ibrahim al-Asiri, has quickly risen on the U.S. public enemies list. While al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri may be the world's "most wanted terrorist," sources say al-Asiri may actually be the most dangerous.
U.S. officials briefly thought al-Asiri was killed in the same drone strike last fall that eliminated AQAP operational leader Anwar al-Awlaki. But al-Asiri survived the September 30 attack.
Al-Asiri was the architect of the 2009 "underwear bomb" worn by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aboard Northwest flight 253. Al-Asiri also built the carefully concealed bombs, hidden in printers aboard two cargo planes in 2010. U.S. investigators suspect al-Asiri was behind the latest device which is now being studied by FBI explosives experts.
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