Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt in The New York Times dig deeper into yesterday's news of a new would-be Al Qaeda underwear bomber, "dispatched by the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda last month to blow up a United States-bound airliner." He was a double agent for the CIA who infiltrated Al Qaeda, and "volunteered for the suicide mission." He also provided intelligence that led to Sunday's drone strike killing a USS Cole bombing suspect. Snip:
In an extraordinary intelligence coup, the agent left Yemen, traveling by way of the United Arab Emirates, and delivered both the innovative bomb designed for his air attack and critical information on the group’s leaders to the C.I.A., Saudi and other foreign intelligence agencies.
After spending weeks at the center of the terrorist network’s most dangerous affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the agent provided critical information that permitted the C.I.A. to direct the drone strike on Sunday that killed Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso, the group’s external operations director and a suspect in the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen in 2000.
He also handed over the bomb, designed by the group’s top explosives expert to be invisible to airport security, to the F.B.I., which is analyzing its properties.
The agent's name has not been revealed, but the CIA says he's currently in Saudi Arabia, being debriefed (heh, get it, debriefed). Full NYT story here.
UPDATE: Looks like the meat of the story was first reported today by the Los Angeles Times. There is a related AP item here. ABC News, here. (Pic: AYBABTU, via Matt Cornell)
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