The would-be bomber in the recently-uncovered plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner leaving Yemen was an undercover intelligence agent. The plot was revealed to U.S. intelligence officials based on a tip by Saudi intelligence services, and had been revealed by a Saudi intelligence source who had been inside Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and providing information to the Saudis and the CIA for some time.
The double-agent revelation goes right to the heart of an intelligence agency’s nightmare, which is identifying a source that they’ve placed inside an organization.
Intelligence agencies and senior officials tell CBS News they’re not going anywhere near commenting on the issue for obvious reasons.
The Associated Press is reporting that the alleged double agent has been removed from Yemen and apparently is safe. This may go a long way toward explaining why authorities said yesterday that the bomber was no longer considered a threat.
It may well be that he was actually working with the CIA all along.
Since 2009, U.S. intelligence officials have had a laser focus on AQAP – al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – the group most believe is responsible for the latest bomb plot.
CBS News senior correspondent John Miller is a former assistant director at the FBI and former head of the Counterterrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau and the Major Crimes Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Read the rest of this report on CBS News