The CIA had the terrorists eating out of the palm of its hand from day one.
During April, American intelligence became aware of an impending plot by al-Qaida to launch an enormous attack on a passenger aircraft on its way to the US, using a previously unheard of and largely undetectable type of bomb.
Unfortunately for the terrorists, the individual charged with task of actually carrying out the attack was working for both the Saudi intelligence services and the CIA, the Associated Press was told by Government officials on Tuesday.
The incredibly daring operation was an unmitigated success and prevented the attack from ever getting past square-one, while at the same time delivering infinitely valuable insights on al-Qaida’s abilities and limitations to the West.
America’s victory marks the latest in a long-line of thwarted al-Qaida attacks over the course of recent years, with some having come dangerously close to successful detonations. In this instance, the bomb has been delivered intact and untouched to US intelligence services and is of truly priceless value in the ongoing war on terror.
Officials made a statement to the Associated Press under guarantees of anonymity, due to the incredibly sensitive and potentially dangerous nature of the subject. America’s involvement in the sting operation was first brought to the public’s attention on Tuesday in a report by the LA Times.
As of now, the bomb is in the hands of the FBI where extensive analysis continues – initially destined to down an airliner while hidden in a passenger’s underwear. According to US official, the bomb represents a significant upgrade from a similar device which failed to detonate after making its way onboard a passenger plane in December 2009.
Practically undetectable by standard airport security, the new bomb used no metal components in its makeup and used lead azide as a detonator – the same chemical found in a separate failed cargo place attack in 2010.
Following the discovery and prevention of the attack, US airport security checks and measures remained unchanged. While some have attributed this to the country’s pride and confidence in its already near-concrete security systems, others have suggested that the government has already pushed travelers to breaking point and cannot possibly increase strictness any further.
To further extend passenger screening and increase airport security measures would also cost global airlines billions due to ensuing delays.
As such, intelligence officials have stated that the public should not expect any significant changes to come into effect in the near future at least.
While American airport security checks are some of the most rigorous and consistent anywhere in the world, the same cannot be said for overseas airports. Furthermore, the US has no direct controls over the quality of security checks and screening at international airports, meaning that inbound attacks continue to represent the biggest terrorist threat of all to airliners.
Following reports of the thwarted attack, the Transport Safety Administration once again sent extensive advice and guidance to a number of international airlines as to how to detect and prevent all reasonable threats from hidden explosives. The same information has been offered several times before, though it is hoped that recent events will further motivate overseas parties to take heed.