The Obama administration is implementing tighter security measures at foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S. out of concern that al-Qaida is trying to develop a new and improved bomb that could go undetected through airport security.
Q: What's behind the move to enhance security for overseas flights bound for the U.S.?
A: The unspecified new security measures, planned a month ago, are a response to intelligence suggesting that bomb makers from al-Qaida's Yemen affiliate, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, have linked up with the al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, in Syria to work together on bombs that can be slipped past airport security.
Counter The Threat
Q: What is the U.S. doing to counter the threat?
A: The CIA and the military work closely with the Yemeni government on counterterrorism operations and run parallel drone strike campaigns in Yemen. The most recent drone strike in Yemen was reported to have occurred on June 14, killing four militants. Yemeni forces have conducted a series of ground operations in recent months, capturing and killing AQAP militants. But AQAP remains a potent force, and its operatives recently released a video in which they talked about targeting American airplanes, said a Yemeni official who would not speak publicly because he was not authorized to be quoted.
The U.S. is not known to have undertaken lethal operations against al-Qaida figures in Syria. The Obama administration has condemned both the Bashar Assad government and the extremist militants fighting it. The CIA has been running a covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels, but the Nusra Front has been the most successful fighting force in the rebel movement.