The CIA has foiled another terrorist plot to bomb a U.S.-bound jetliner. This time the plan involved an improved version of the "underwear bomb" that failed to detonate on a Northwest Airlines flight in late 2009.
Officials say this latest plot was organized by an al Qaeda arm in Yemen just last month. The affiliate, known as the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, did not pose a serious threat to human life since it was dismantled before it went off.
The discovery of the plot comes just a day after a CIA drone strike killed Fahd Mohammad Ahmed al Quso in Yemen, an al Qaeda figure indicted in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Ever since that military attack, al Quso held a spot on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Terrorist list and is said to be a key initiator of the new underwear bomb plot.
Senior counterterrorism officials say al Quso was the operational leader of AQAP since last September when an air strike killed U.S. born al Qaeda head, Anwar al-Awlaki, and say his involvement in the planning of a new attack on the United States made him a marked target for U.S. military planners