Establishment media report that the recent assassination of a 37-year old Yemeni and the breakup of an alleged underwear-bomb plot are connected through a CIA informant.
In a scoop the New York Times fails to acknowledge, the L.A. Times reports that the reported underwear bomber was in fact a CIA informant from whom the U.S. government hoped to obtain the whereabouts of the stylishly dressed Ibrahim Hassan Asiri, whom the paper identifies as a "feared" al Qaeda bomb maker. The informant and the bomb have both been extracted from Yemen, but the effort netted only Yemeni national Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Quso, who seemingly met death while still rocking the grunge look:
Experts are analyzing the sophisticated device at the FBI's bomb laboratory at Quantico, Va., to determine if it really could evade current security measures. It appears an upgraded version of the so-called "underwear bomb" that failed to take down a passenger jet over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.
Like that bomb, this device bears the forensic signature of feared Al Qaeda bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan Asiri, who was born in Saudi Arabia and is believed to be hiding in Yemen. But the double agent apparently never got close to Asiri, who remains one of the top CIA targets.
The operation had an added benefit, however. It produced intelligence that helped U.S. authorities finally locate Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Quso, a top Al Qaeda operative in Yemen. Quso had been on the FBI's most wanted list for his alleged involvement in the bombing of the guided missile destroyer USS Cole in a Yemeni port in 2000. The FBI had offered a $5-million bounty for information leading to his capture.
On Sunday, a CIA drone aircraft fired a missile that killed Quso as he stepped out of his car in Yemen, U.S. officials said.
The drone strike and the effort to obtain the explosive device "are part of the same operation," said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who heads the House Homeland Security Committee.
More on Quso.
More on Asiri.