More than two dozen packages from Yemen still sought

posted at 3:15 pm on October 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The US has intercepted two packages from Sanaa, Yemen, with explosive materials, but NBC reports that more may still remain in transit.  Investigators are looking for as many as 26 potential IEDS , both inside and outside of Yemen.  The packages discovered so far have contained the powerful explosive PETN, the same material used by the Underwear Bomber for the failed Christmas Day attack on a Northwest flight from Amsterdam:

After intercepting two mail bombs addressed to Chicago-area synagogues, investigators are searching for two dozen more suspect packages that terrorists in Yemen attempted to smuggle onto aircraft in a brazen al-Qaida terror plot.

Authorities on three continents thwarted the attacks when they seized explosives on cargo planes in the United Arab Emirates and England on Friday. …

Several U.S. officials said they were increasingly confident that al-Qaida’s Yemen branch, the group behind the failed Detroit airliner bombing last Christmas, was responsible.

A Yemeni security official said the new investigation involved about 26 suspected packages.

The bomb discovered in Dubai had a mobile phone attached to the detonator, which was wired into the printer cartridge.  The one discovered in the UK used a timer as the detonator.  That would hint at an in-air explosion as the intent rather than a target set for delivery, as that would require a specific, pinpoint prediction of actual delivery rather than just a set time when a plane would be in the air.

Clearly, though, the US believes that at least some of these are intended as attacks to specific targets inside the US.  The original tip came from Saudi intelligence, according to this report, which heard about the plot after it had apparently gone into action.  The report says that “[i]ntelligence officials were onto the suspected plot for days,” but that seems at odds with the announced timelines of the investigation, at least in the US.  The White House said yesterday that Barack Obama got informed of the plot only on late Thursday evening — and if the intel services had that much lead time, they should have been able to stop those bombs from getting on airplanes destined for the UK and Dubai.

More information will undoubtedly come out in the days ahead to shed light on some of these questions, and hopefully in the meantime investigators will track down the remaining packages before anyone gets hurt.


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good grief

rob verdi on October 30, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Note to synagogues: Don’t accept delivery of any packages from Yemen.

MayBee on October 30, 2010 at 3:17 PM

When you get the package write return to sender on it, then watch the news for the hilarity

The Expert Knows

HAExpert on October 30, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Story in the Guardian..one package set to detonate by cell phone.

Skandia Recluse on October 30, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Is there some way to detect this stuff? Can a dog sniff it out? Gads, I feel for the ups pilots and drivers. Could be almost on every flight of delivery truck it might appear.
L

letget on October 30, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Sorry to hear they’re looking for more. I’m scheduled to fly to Chicago Sunday.

katiejane on October 30, 2010 at 3:22 PM

But Obama is just too darn busy campaigning to deal with this.

Capitalist Infidel on October 30, 2010 at 3:23 PM

I miss W.

AubieJon on October 30, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Hopefully we have assets in the Arabian Sea capable of sending some packages of our own to these barbarians. I don’t mean financial aid either as Obama hinted.

fourdeucer on October 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM

problem is, this kind of stuff could be done by one guy. Look at the unibomber craziness in the 90s. Can’t really go crazy one a whole country because of that. And that’s the whole problem with fighting a “war on terrorism.”

Tie in the yemeni govt., and I will sing a different tune.

WitchDoctor on October 30, 2010 at 3:30 PM

I know that the nation and our POTUS is obsessed with Tuesday right now but it seems to me that this is not quite getting the coverage it should.

ORconservative on October 30, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Thank God it is Al_Q trying to kill folks and not Muslims or Islam. (Muslims might kill you if they were accused!)

BL@KBIRD on October 30, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Tie in the yemeni govt., and I will sing a different tune.

WitchDoctor on October 30, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Good luck with that. Not a few Middle Easterners are, as one wit put it, fed spycraft with their mother’s milk.

Dark-Star on October 30, 2010 at 3:48 PM

The bomb discovered in Dubai had a mobile phone attached to the detonator, which was wired into the printer cartridge.

Wouldn’t someone over here have to call the moble phone to detonate it? If so, then there is more than one person involved.

tinkerthinker on October 30, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Sent by faithful Muslims.

Akzed on October 30, 2010 at 3:54 PM

So how many packages does it take to create an Al Queda terrorist threat?

Lily on October 30, 2010 at 3:57 PM

We have to be right every time whereas they only have to be right once. As we tighten a weakness (and sacrifice a little more liberty for security), they seek another. It is a losing game.

Stamp them out at the source. Make the price they pay very high for every attempt.

GnuBreed on October 30, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I miss W.

AubieJon on October 30, 2010 at 3:25 PM

amen…the campaigner-in-chief couldn’t be bothered.

cmsinaz on October 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM

amen…the campaigner-in-chief couldn’t be bothered.

cmsinaz on October 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Why should he? His plane is in no danger…

ladyingray on October 30, 2010 at 4:03 PM

I’m glad I don’t live inor near a synagogue somewhere !
Whew !

pambi on October 30, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Where is the college football open thread? Cornhuskers up 17 over Mizzou, El_Terrible!

John the Libertarian on October 30, 2010 at 4:07 PM

ladyingray on October 30, 2010 at 4:03 PM

true

cmsinaz on October 30, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Cornhuskers up 17 over Mizzou, El_Terrible!

Er, make that 24.

John the Libertarian on October 30, 2010 at 4:15 PM

John the Libertarian on October 30, 2010 at 4:15 PM

GA and FL are tied at 7.

ladyingray on October 30, 2010 at 4:33 PM

ladyingray on October 30, 2010 at 4:33 PM

I would love to see Georgia pull it off.

John the Libertarian on October 30, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Nothing to worry about. Obama anticipated this and has enlisted Hispanic voters to go out and punish our enemies.

ardenenoch on October 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

I hate to say it, but we need to announce a policy wherein when we uncover something like this, we will pick a random majority-Muslim city and drop a neutron bomb on it. Trust me, you’ll only have to do it once or twice and this kind of thing will be a distant memory. Religions can change. The Mormons gave up polygamy for Utah’s statehood so I suspect Islam will be more than happy to give up terrorism for survival. After cleaning up the irradiated bodies in the second city, the anti-terrorist fatwas will be flying fast and furiously.

Kafir on October 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Don’t some cellphones have alarm options?

slickwillie2001 on October 30, 2010 at 4:41 PM

It really surprises me that everyone is eating all this up without any questions. I guess now’s not the time to start asking tough questions about what’s going on, and the convenient timing of it all. Wouldn’t want the GOP to risk looking shaky on national security right before an election, now would we.

Let them eat cake.

Seixon on October 30, 2010 at 4:42 PM

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canopfor on October 30, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Wouldn’t someone over here have to call the moble phone to detonate it? If so, then there is more than one person involved.

Why not an international call? They just have to be sure they turned on roaming before sending it. And with roaming rates these days, that just about doubles the cost of the bomb. ;-)

Mark Jaquith on October 30, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Don’t some cellphones have alarm options?

They do. But at that point, you could just use a Casio digital watch.

Mark Jaquith on October 30, 2010 at 4:52 PM

These packages still out there,and if they are in cargo bays of airplanes,can they not be detonated by dailing
up the cell-phone number,if that can be done,I dunno!

canopfor on October 30, 2010 at 5:08 PM

The bomb discovered in Dubai had a mobile phone attached to the detonator, which was wired into the printer cartridge.
==========================================================
Ugh,need to read a tad slower!

canopfor on October 30, 2010 at 5:10 PM

I’ll be watching Wikileaks for the real story….

mockmook on October 30, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Where is Hillary? Why was the U.S. the last to know of this plot – after the explosives were enroute?? Maybe PJ Crowley is baking birthday cupcakes for Yemen…

TN Mom on October 30, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Those darn Evangelicals.

Ronnie on October 30, 2010 at 11:29 PM