Various sources are reporting that British intelligence officials discovered a plot to bomb a US airliner ahead of the Olympics. The alleged plot has been planned by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). AQAP recruited a Norwegian citizen, a recent convert to Islam who adopted the name Abu Abdurrahman, to carry out the plot. He received training in Yemen which may have included tradecraft designed to evade airport security. The timing of the plot coincides with the start of the upcoming London Olympics, however it does not appear that the plot directly targets the Games.
This latest information is consistent with the threat stemming from AQAP, which has been behind some of the most recent plots targeting aircraft. They were responsible for the failed 2009 Christmas Day bomb plot, the 2010 cargo bomb plot and the thwarted 2012 plot to utilize an updated version of the underwear bomb. AQAP has been actively planning ways to circumvent the latest air safety security measures to conduct attacks. In a special edition of Inspire magazine, released in November 2010, AQAP claimed that a low cost attack on an airline would have a huge economic impact on the US and other Western countries. As a result, they say governments would be forced to spend millions of dollars to update security procedures in airports.
Additionally, AQAP has been attempting to recruit Western individuals to perpetrate attacks. Americans and Europeans have a greater ability to travel freely throughout Western nations without attracting suspicion. Abdurrahman is a Norwegian citizen, possibly with traditional Scandinavian features and no criminal history, which may enable him to avoid detection. The MSA Intel Team will continue to monitor the threat and provide updates as appropriate.