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Here's the AP report of May 7, 2012 that spurred the DOJ to secretly collect AP phone records. That article draws into question statements previously made by the White House and Homeland Security officials that there was no known AQ plotting of an attack to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death.

WASHINGTON -- The CIA thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a sophisticated new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, The Associated Press has learned.

The plot involved an upgrade of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate aboard a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb was also designed to be used in a passenger's underwear, but this time al-Qaida developed a more refined detonation system, U.S. officials said. The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.

< . . .>

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said President Barack Obama learned about the plot in April and was assured the device posed no threat to the public. "The president thanks all intelligence and counterterrorism professionals involved for their outstanding work and for serving with the extraordinary skill and commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand," Hayden said.

The operation unfolded even as the White House and Department of Homeland Security assured the American public that they knew of no al-Qaida plots against the U.S. around the anniversary of bin Laden's death. The operation was carried out over the past few weeks, officials said. "We have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death," White House press secretary Jay Carney said on April 26. On May 1, the Department of Homeland Security said, "We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death." The White House did not explain those statements Monday.

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Comment Preferences

  •  While time is often significant, (6+ / 0-)

    since I have no memory of nor interest in when a particular malfactor met his end, what the President knew and when he knew something that didn't happen strikes me as a quibble designed to distract by an organization (the Associated Press) that seems to make a living off proprietary information which it promises the providers not to share.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue May 14, 2013 at 06:13:31 AM PDT

    •  The issue, in addition to spying on reporters, is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward, joe shikspack

      the White House appears to have misrepresented facts when it and DHS stated that there was no known al Qaeda plot to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death.

      The subpoena makes it appear that there's an Administration vendetta against AP for pointing out those inaccurate statements.  Double-plus bad.  This is potentially more damaging than the IRS debacle. :-(

      •  That's a reckless charge (7+ / 0-)

        People did their jobs in a) disrupting the plot and b) not tipping off the terrorists.

        Punishing public servants for doing their jobs with this slanderous accusation is simply wrong.

        Stick to the actual debate over how far the government should go to ferret out leakers instead of inventing motivations for which you have no proof.

      •  The silence from the republicans is deafening (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, mrblifil, glynis, leftykook

        After the AP "scandal" broke, I was sure they would be out in full force on the networks this morning, or at least issuing statements.  But I have only seen Issa on CNN but he was really scheduled to talk about Benghazi.

        Could it be that the "leaker" in the AP story is a republican?

        My theory is that the White House was saying at that time that there were no credible plots around the time of the Bin Laden kill anniversary date.  But the leak exposed that as a lie.  Who would benefit from exposing the White House as liars?  Certainly not Democrats.

        Yes, the DOJ cast a wide net.  But don't you need a wide net if you are going after a BIG FISH?

        In any event, the GOP should be out today over-hyping the AP story like they do everything else.  Very curious...

        •  the entire investigation (0+ / 0-)

          was at the Republican's request for Holder to appoint a special prosecutor.  He did and that is who obtained the subpeona's.

          •  Of course the GOP requested a "special (0+ / 0-)

            prosecutor" because they knew there is no way in hell the White House would do that, having learned the lessons from the Clinton administration.   They made quite the stink about leaks coming from this White House.  Yet, where are they today?  Shouldn't they be out there praising the White House for taking these leaks seriously and leaving no stone unturned in trying to get to the truth?  

      •  Not to quibble with semantics... (0+ / 0-)

        But this caught my attention last night while watching Rachael Maddow. The WH spokesman said there was no credible info on attacks "in" the U.S., while the foiled plot involved a passenger jet inbound to the U.S. (which to me implies a plane taking off from from another country and headed to the US). Only in hindsight does the parsing of words like this ever really catch my eye.

        The way this plot was foiled was also interesting, as the "bomber" was actually working with US intelligence. Very double agent-y.

        But it was solid intelligence work and the kind of stuff that generates kudos and plaudits. Quite frankly, it's the kind of stuff I would assume would be leaked intentionally so as to get kudos and plaudits. So I'm somewhat confused as to the extent and severity of the DOJ's actions investigating the leak to the AP.

    •  Personally, I would have liked to have known (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Victor Ward

      there was an actual threat.

      •  The AP outed an informant who had managed (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, NYFM, mrblifil, glynis, TLS66

        to infiltrate Al-Qaidi Yemeni.  That is how the plot was foiled but thanks to the AP, that informant could no longer operate.

        I hope the DOJ fries whoever this leaker was.  He/she is being characterized as a whistleblower.  Whistleblower, my ass.  This is tantamount to treason in my view.

        •  The "bomber" was a Saudi intel agent His ID was (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ffour, joe shikspack

          already blown to Al Qaeda, given that the cover story was that he had been arrested on his way to the airport, foiling the plot.

          If the same guy turned up again at AQ HQ, they would know he was a double.

          There was no "outing" here.

          It does appear, however, that the WH and DHS made some misleading public statements about no known threats to coincide with the UBL killing, and AP blew the whistle on that.   The DOJ in  turn issues an administrative subpoena to obtain the phone records of the AP staff.  Looks like a vendetta and a cover-up.  Double-double-plus bad.

          •  Misleading public statements (4+ / 0-)

            Whether Truman should or shouldn't have announced the existence of the A-Bomb to the world before it's use (he should have), the fact remains he wouldn't have. Your comment only makes sense if you think that there is no such concept as operating in secret in defense of the public good. That is a theory that will fail in practice every day.

          •  cover story by whom? (0+ / 0-)

            the agent was outed.

          •  A reading of the timeline absolves WH (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fou, leftykook

            Before April - the intelligence work and foiling of the bomb plot is underway

            In April - the WH learns of the device and that it poses no danger to the community (largely because of above mentioned spycraft).

            April 26th - Carney, WH

            We have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death
            May 1st -
            We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden's death
            May 2nd - Anniversary Bin Laden death.

            May 7th - AP releases their report

            The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week
            which would be no earlier than 4-29-2012.

            Which means the plot was assuredly foiled before April 29th.

            Entirely consistent with Carney declaring on April 26th:

            We have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death
          •  Excuse me? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            It does appear, however, that the WH and DHS made some misleading public statements about no known threats to coincide with the UBL killing, and AP blew the whistle on that.
            The following is from the article that you link to in your diary.
            The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday.
            So I guess your claim is that the AP "blew the whistle" on the government's attempt to protect the anonymity of its informant for one day?! I suppose the Obama administration should have just outed that person just as Bush outed Valerie Plame?!

            Teh stupid. It burns.

      •  The Yemen bomb factory was infiltrated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack

        Al-Awlaki who was designated as its operational head was killed in September 2011.

        Each of the previous plane bombing plots -- the Xmas Underwear Bomber and the FedEx toner cartridge plot -- were inflitrated and the bombs were duds.

        This probably was an extraction operation that succeeded.

        By April 2012, the operation which some are suggesting was "blown" by AP was over.

  •  Classified means "classified" (5+ / 0-)

    It's illegal to expose classified material...the White House needs to keep secrets and the media does not understand that.

    •  You would be comfortable living in East Germany. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      By your logic, the Pentagon Papers should never have been published, and the leakers prosecuted by Nixon's Attorney General.

      •  Valerie (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrblifil, glynis

        Plame.  Yes, by all means let's talk leakers.

      •  Where is the government malfeasance here? (7+ / 0-)

        I understand why there's an ethical obligation to report government malfeasance; but in this case, the AP reported something that actually made the government look good: the successful foiling of a plot to blow up a US plane.

        If, as you suggest, the Obama administration were only interested in having the press report stories to its advantage, then why do you suppose they went after the AP in this case?

        The more I hear about this story, the more it looks like they were genuinely trying to investigate leakers of classified information which put intelligence operatives at risk. Now, one can question why the breadth of this subpoena is so large; but thus far, I haven't seen anything to indicate that this action was an attempt to silence government critics.

        •  Oh, but the media is in full blown outrage mode (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, leftykook, FiredUpInCA

          because there is simply no other explanation than the White House is trying to intimidate "whistleblowers."  This is what Ron Fournier stated this morning.  I don't know what/why the whistle is being blown in this operation and therefore, I cannot understand such a characterization.  Yet, this is obviously the angle the media is taking.  And per Fournier, the blowback from the press will be HUGE.  He seems to think the press will now turn against the President with ferocity and will investigate everything the WH does from this point on.

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! As if the press wasn't already doing all of that???!!

        •  By the time the subpoenas were sought, the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack

          CT operation was long over.  There was a man who was "arrested" on the way to the airport with the bomb - that was the cover story that was put out at the time.  In fact, according to information released subsequent to the AP leak, the "bomber" was actually a Saudi double-agent working with the CIA.   Thus, no "intelligence operatives at risk" - he was already back out of the cold, and the operation appears to have been wrapped up with his extraction.

          The US media didn't tell AQAP anything they didn't already know.

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