WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — The CIA thwarted a plot by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, a U.S. counter-terrorism official tells CBS News. The plot was first reported by the Associated Press.
U.S. officials say the plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also built to be used in a passenger’s underwear but contained a more refined detonation system, the AP reported.
The counter-terrorism official tells CBS News an actual device was recovered and it has the hallmarks of previous devices used by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The official added that the work is believed to be that of bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri.
The would-be suicide bomber was told to buy a ticket on the airliner of his choosing and decide the timing of the attack. It’s not immediately clear what happened to the would-be bomber, the AP reported.
The U.S. officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive case.