The US has said its intelligence and security agencies with the help of their other international counterparts have foiled a bid of al-Qaeda’s branch in the Arabian Peninsula to bomb an American plane.
“As a result of close cooperation with our security and intelligence partners overseas,an Improvised Expolsive Device (IED) designed to carry out a terrorist attack has been seized abroad,” the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement.
The White House said the President was informed about it in April and since has received regular update on it.
“While the President was assured that the device did not pose a threat to the public,he directed the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take whatever steps necessary to guard against this type of attack,” Deputy Spokesperson of National Security Council Caitlin Hayden said.
He said that President Obama thanked all the concerned authorities for their “outstanding” efforts in foiling the bid.
“The disruption of this IED plot underscores the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism here and abroad,” Hayden said.
In its statement,the FBI said it currently had the possession of the IED and was conducting technical and forensics analysis on it.
“Initial exploitation indicates that the device is very similar to IEDs that have been used previously by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in attempted terrorist attacks,including against aircraft and for targeted assassinations,” it said.
Making it clear that the device “never presented a threat to public safety”,the bureau said the government was “working closely with its international partners” to address the various concerns associated with the device.
Meanwhile,the Department of Homeland Security has said it has no specific and credible information regarding an active terrorist plot against the US at this time,although it continues to monitor move by al-Qaeda and its affiliates to carry out terrorist attacks,both in the Homeland and abroad.
“Since this IED demonstrates our adversaries’ interest in targeting the aviation sector,DHS continues,at the direction of the President,to employ a risk-based,layered approach to ensure the security of the traveling public,” department’s spokesperson Matt Chandler said.
“These layers include threat and vulnerability analysis,pre-screening and screening of passengers,using the best available technology,random searches at airports,federal air marshal coverage and additional security measures both seen and unseen,” Chandler said.
Earlier in the day,the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman was briefed by the Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and White House Counter-terrorism Advisor John Brennan about the foiled plot.
“The most important fact is that terrorists planning to kill innocent people were stopped before anyone was in danger,” Lieberman said adding that both Secretary Napolitano and Brennan assured him that country’s intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies,with the help of their international counterparts,successfully foiled the bid.
Lieberman said he was told by them that no public announcement of al-Qaeda’s this plot was made in order to protect the ongoing counter-terrorism operations by the US.
The Senator also said he was also informed that there was “no evidence” to prove that the plot was “tied to” the first anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.