Al-Qaeda Underwear Bomber Was ‘Double Agent’

A man who volunteered as a suicide bomber for a terrorist group intent on blowing up a U.S.-bound plane was working instead as an intelligence agent for Saudi Arabia, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing American and foreign officials.

The double agent departed Yemen, traveled through the United Arab Emirates and gave the bomb and information about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to the CIA, Saudi intelligence and other foreign intelligence agencies, the newspaper said. The bomb, which was intended to pass undetected through airport security, was given to the FBI, which was poring over it, the newspaper said.

The Times, citing officials, said the agent works for Saudi intelligence, which has “cooperated closely” with the CIA for years. The officials, who would not identify the man, said he is safe in Saudi Arabia, the newspaper reported.


Citing a senior American official, the newspaper described the device as sewn into “custom fit” underwear and able to be detonated in two ways. That redundancy may have been an attempt to ensure that an attempt to blow up a jet over Detroit in 2009, which failed because the bomb did not detonate, would not be repeated. The primary charge in the latest device was high-grade military explosive that the Times, quoting an official, said “undoubtedly would have brought down an aircraft.”

The device investigators were studying is more sophisticated than were previous ones and represents a disconcerting advance in al Qaeda bomb-making techniques, officials said Tuesday. But lawmakers said more such devices may exist, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, said the release of information about the device could complicate an effort to seal the long-term threat.

In light of the recently foiled bombing attempt, should authorities make further revisions in airport safety procedures? Tell us what you think!

Source: CNN

Image: France 24

Arrested Hack Suspects Associated with Terrorists

The FBI and Philippine law enforcement officials arrested four people in the Philippines this week who were allegedly paid by terrorists to hack into AT&T’s system, but the company said its system was not breached.

The four, who were arrested Wednesday in Manila, were paid by the same Saudi Arabian-based terrorist group identified by the FBI as funding the 2008 attack on Mumbai, the Philippines’ Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said in a statement. The coordinated attacks in India’s largest city claimed 164 lives and wounded at least 308. The CIDG said the hacking activity resulted in “almost $2 million in losses incurred by the company.”

The suspects hacked the trunk-like PBX (private branch exchange) phone lines of different telecommunications companies, including AT&T, the CIDG said. Money stolen in the hacks was diverted to bank accounts belonging to the terrorists, who paid the Filipino hackers on commission, the group said.

The four allegedly worked for a group originally run by Muhammad Zamir, a Pakistani arrested by the FBI in 2007 who was associated with Jemaah Islamiah, a Southeast Asian militant group with links to Al Qaeda. The FBI requested the CIDG’s assistance in March after discovering the hacking group had targeted AT&T in the U.S., the CIDG said. The AT&T said it thwarted an attempt to steal mobile customer data and that no accounts were breached.

 

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