Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Holder: Intel on Al-Qaida Airliner Bomb Plot is Most 'Frightening' Yet

An airline passenger goes through a full-body scan at O'Hare Airport in Chicago in 2010. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says recent intelligence about an alleged al-Qaida plot to smuggle a new type of bomb onto a U.S.-bound aircraft is perhaps "more frightening" than anything else he has seen while in office. An airline passenger goes through a full-body scan at O'Hare Airport in Chicago in 2010. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says recent intelligence about an alleged al-Qaida plot to smuggle a new type of bomb onto a U.S.-bound aircraft is perhaps "more frightening" than anything else he has seen while in office. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the latest intelligence about an al-Qaida plot to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner is deeply alarming.

U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly learned that al-Qaida weapon specialists based in Yemen are collaborating with al-Nusrah Front, an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, with the intention of smuggling a new type of explosive device onto passenger planes flying to the United States.

"It's something that gives us really extreme, extreme concern," Holder said in an interview with ABC News that aired on Sunday. "In some ways, it's more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general."

Holder said a "deadly combination" had formed between skilled bomb designers and "people who have this kind of fervor to give their lives in support of a cause that is directed at the United States and directed at its allies."

In response to the intelligence, the Homeland Security Department has ordered new precautions at a handful of international airports. Those include specifically requiring that some passengers traveling to the United States show that they can switch on their digital devices in front of security officials.

The attorney general described the new protocols as "appropriate" and "prudent steps that are necessary to protect the flying public."

The extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has captured recent international attention, thus far appears focused on cementing its territorial gains in the Middle East, Holder was quoted by the New York Times as saying.

However, "I think it's just a matter of time before they start looking outward and start looking at the West and at the United States in particular," he said.

Note to our Readers

GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

NTI Analysis

  • Sub-Saharan Africa 1540 Reporting

    Jan. 9, 2014

    The UNSCR 1540 implementation process in sub-Saharan Africa has been slow. As of October 2011, 26 of the 48 states in the region have submitted 1540 national reports.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean 1540 Reporting

    Nov. 8, 2013

    This report is part of a collection examining implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to-date.

Country Profile

Flag of Iraq

Iraq

This article provides an overview of Iraq’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →