From the NYTimes:
WASHINGTON — The would-be suicide bomber dispatched by the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda last month to blow up a United States-bound airliner was actually an intelligence agent for Saudi Arabia who infiltrated the terrorist group and volunteered for the suicide mission, American and foreign officials said Tuesday.
In an extraordinary intelligence coup, the double agent left Yemen, traveling by way of the United Arab Emirates, and delivered both the innovative bomb designed for his air attack and critical information on the group’s leaders to the C.I.A., Saudi and other foreign intelligence agencies.
Has Obama got a handle on this War on Terror or what?
The law enforcement source said that U.S. officials believed they had control over the informant and, therefore, control over the explosive device that they say terrorists in Yemen crafted to slip past airport metal detectors and onto an airplane bound for the United States.and further details from the NYTimes:
The news of the double agent might explain comments made earlier Tuesday by John Brennan, the chief White House counterterrorism adviser, who told ABC's "Good Morning America" that U.S. officials were confident they were in control of the situation leading up to the seizure of the improvised explosive device, or IED.
Officials said the agent, whose identity they would not disclose, works for the Saudi intelligence service, which has cooperated closely with the C.I.A. for several years against the terrorist group in Yemen. He operated in Yemen with the full knowledge of the C.I.A., but not under its direct supervision, the officials said.
The agent is now safe in Saudi Arabia, officials said. The bombing plot was kept secret for weeks by the C.I.A. and other agencies because they feared retaliation against the agent and his family.