U.S. officials now say that the man picked to bring a bomb onboard an airliner bound for the United States was actually an agent working on behalf of the CIA. That's the latest twist in a complicated tale — and it raises questions about just how dangerous the group behind the plot really is.
Information about CIA operations often leaks quickly, and analysts say this can complicate future efforts.
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Once upon a time, CIA operations were secret.
But as the latest bomb plot in Yemen shows, little stays hidden for long these days.
In the post-Sept. 11 world, even the most sensitive intelligence operations quickly become daily fodder as the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet and media-friendly politicians give the story momentum. And it's often senior government officials and the intelligence community who spread the juiciest details.
A new key detail has emerged in the foiled underwear bomb plot: NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports that a CIA informant posed as a suicide bomber in order to persuade the al-Qaida branch in Yemen to hand over a new, more sophisticated underwear bomb.
The latest plot to bomb a U.S. airliner has been foiled, but U.S. intelligence officials have described the bomb as a sophisticated device that's believed to be the work of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Many details are still not available, but here's what is and isn't known so far: