[Guest post by DRJ]
Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek break a stunning story:
“White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan was briefed in October on an assassination attempt by Al Qaeda that investigators now believe used the same underwear bombing technique as the Nigerian suspect who tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, U.S. intelligence and administration officials tell NEWSWEEK.
The briefing to Brennan was delivered at the White House by Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s chief counterterrorism official. In late August, Nayef had survived an assassination attempt by an operative dispatched by the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda who was pretending to turn himself in. The operative had tried to kill the Saudi prince by detonating a bomb on his body, but stumbled on his way into the prince’s palace and blew himself up.
The purpose of the Brennan briefing was to make it clear to the Obama Administration that terrorists were using something new — an underwear bomb:
“Saudi officials initially thought the bomb had been secreted in the operative’s anal cavity. But after investigating the matter more thoroughly, they concluded it had likely been sewn into his underwear, thereby allowing the operative to bypass security checks before his meeting with the prince. A main purpose of Nayef’s briefing for Brennan was to alert U.S. officials to the use of the underwear technique.
U.S. officials now suspect that Nayef’s attempted assassin and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian suspect aboard the Northwest flight, had the same bomb maker in Yemen, intelligence experts tell NEWSWEEK.
The briefing for Brennan is among a series of pre-Christmas warnings suggesting that the breakdown in the U.S. intelligence system prior to the Northwest attack may have been worse than has been publicly acknowledged, according to an article in the new issue of NEWSWEEK, “The Radicalization of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.” The full story can be read here.”
Now we know why Obama picked Brennan to lead the investigation. Either Brennan will quickly find out where the advance intelligence he received went astray … or Brennan is the dead-end and this investigation will go nowhere.
PLUS THIS from Politico:
“Richard Barrett, head of the UN’s Al Qaeda and Taliban Monitoring Group, was also raising the alarm on the Al Qaeda assassination attempt back in Washington in October.”
UPDATE: So the Brits already had Abdulmutallab on their “No-Fly” list because he’s been on their radar for 3 years.