Last month, U.S. intelligence learned that al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch hoped to launch a spectacular attack using a new, nearly undetectable bomb aboard an airliner bound for America, officials say.
But the man the terrorists were counting on to carry out the attack was actually working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence, U.S. and Yemeni officials told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The dramatic sting operation thwarted the attack before it had a chance to succeed.
It was the latest misfire for al-Qaeda, which has repeatedly come close to detonating a bomb aboard an airliner. For the United States, it was a victory that delivered the bomb intact to U.S. intelligence.
The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operation. The cooperation of the would-be bomber was first reported Tuesday evening by The Los Angeles Times.
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