We’ve been hearing a bit of “al-Qaeda has been defeated” triumphalism lately, but it looks like it might have been premature. The New York Post reports that British intelligence has uncovered a plot by the al-Qaeda cell in Yemen to blow up an American airliner on the eve of the London Olympics.
This is the same gang that brought us the printer-cartridge cargo plane bomb plot and the Underwear Bombers. This time, they’ve recruited “a Norwegian convert who goes by the Islamic name of Muslim Abu Abdurrahman,” who “converted in 2008, became radicalized, and later travelled to Yemen, where he’s spent several months, to complete his training.”
He is said to be particularly useful because he has a “clean skin,” meaning no criminal record, although I gather from various media accounts that he is a “radicalized Westerner” of Norwegian extraction. There has been a good deal of chatter in the intelligence community about al-Qaeda attempts to recruit such operatives.
British authorities have not said much more about this new threat, how they uncovered it, or what measures they are taking to prevent it. It appears that Abdurrahman is still at large in Yemen.