Good Intelligence

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 9:35am

U.S. Intelligence scores major victory.

This morning we're learning more about the bomb al Qaeda planned to use to blow up a plane over the U.S., including the shocking revelation that that bomb was likely going nowhere.

The person al Qaeda trusted to carry a bomb onto a U.S. plane was actually an informant working for Saudi Intelligence, cooperating with the CIA. "This was intelligence at its best," said Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman, Homeland Security Committee

"Key operatives, key insiders are people we want to continue to use," said Former Director, National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter.

The informant actually drove the bomb safely out of Yemen and turned it over to authorities. It's been at the FBI’s crime lab in Quantico for a week.

Even though the bomb contained no metal, authorities believe it would've been picked up by airport security. "In all likelihood, it would not have succeeded." Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano.

The U.S. believes it was designed by Ibrahim Al-Asiri, the top bomb-maker for al Qaeda in Yemen or one of his students. "They keep on adapting and they keep on changing to respond to our defenses and we have to keep changing our defenses and we also have to stay on the offense," said Rep. Adam Schiff, (D) California

But the point of this story, officials say, is this bomb never went off. "We continue to make progress and you know each year we're safer than we were the year before. : Senator Chuck Schumer/ (D) New York

The bottom line is, the U.S. is confident. "Not one plane has been brought down by a terrorist!" Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood

But not complacent. "The master bomb-maker is still out there and doing whatever he can do to develop technology to kill Americans and our allies." Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD)

That's why even though our security isn't changing, the TSA sent a reminder to foreign airports about how to detect hidden explosives.

Tracie Potts, NBC News.

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