Do You Promise Not To Tell

I’m not sure we should know about this all, but it turns out this foiled underwear bomber thing might have been a big deal. John Hudson at the Atlantic:

It’s difficult to exaggerate the value of the sting operation that foiled Al Qaeda’s latest underwear bomb plot. On Tuesday night, U.S. officials revealed that a Saudi agent working with the CIA infiltrated Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen and volunteered to blow himself up on a U.S.-bound jetliner. The agent gained the trust of the terrorist cell, obtained the group’s latest underwear bomb and delivered it to CIA officials intact. Here’s why sting is such an intelligence coup:

Snagging the bomb intact. Typically, when U.S. officials uncover Al Qaeda’s bombs it’s after they’ve been triggered, making it more difficult to understand how they work. The genius of this operation is the CIA retrieved the bomb intact, which we now know was very sophisticated. This morning, NPR’s Dina Temple-Raston learned that this bomb was much more sophisticated than the 2009 underwear bomb. …

Learning about bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.  There are many offshoots of Al Qaeda but the one in Yemen, which was infiltrated, is the most fearsome, former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan told PBS News Hour last night. …

Getting closer to Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. U.S. officials have confirmed that the sophisticated underwear bomb was created by infamous Al Qaeda bombmaker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri …

 The death of Fahd al-Quso. One of the intelligence coups from the double agent has already paid off. According to reports, the Saudi agent was able to give the CIA information that led to the killing of Fahd Mohammad Ahmed Al-Quso. “The al Qaeda terrorist killed in a CIA drone missile strike in Shabwa, Yemen this past weekend was one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Terrorists,” reports CBS News. …

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