Now the AQAP Double Agent Is MI5?
And oh boy, new robot plane killings:
The United States launched airstrikes in Yemen on Thursday that killed as many as seven militants, the second American missile attack in the country since the CIA and other spy agencies disrupted an al-Qaeda airline bomb plot, U.S. officials said.So the guy with a British passport was selected because they knew he was a fellow agent???
The strike came as new details surfaced about the foiling of the plot, including the disclosure that the operative who posed as a willing suicide bomber and later turned the device over to authorities was a British citizen, according to Western officials.
The operative’s background as a Saudi with a British passport helps to explain why he may have been selected by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen to smuggle an advanced explosive onto a U.S.-bound flight. In reality, officials said, the operative was working as part of an elaborate espionage mission directed by the CIA and its Saudi counterpart.
The CIA declined to comment on any aspect of the mission or the airstrike. But officials confirmed details about the operative’s background, including that he held a British passport, and did not dispute accounts in the British press about his recruitment by MI5, that country’s equivalent of the FBI.
Officials said the operative had been in place for months and had gained the confidence of senior al-Qaeda figures, who sought to take advantage of his Western passport and other travel documents.
A Western intelligence official described the operation as a “joint venture” that relied on cooperation among multiple agencies to put the operative in position to penetrate al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.
After taking possession of the bomb, the operative turned it over to Saudi handlers in Yemen before leaving the country. The device is in FBI custody in the United States and is being examined to determine whether it would have been detected by airport security systems.
The operative was among a network of informants in Yemen working on behalf of the CIA as well as the Saudi and Yemeni spy services. The informants have provided intelligence used in targeting for an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes.