Updated! Threat alert: ‘Ingenious’ clothing bomb


UPDATED Aug. 6: The latest tactic that U.S. officials fear would let terrorists “dip ordinary clothing into liquid to make the clothes themselves into explosives once dry,” ABC News reports. “It’s ingenious,” an official tells ABC.

From Aug. 5: A senior U.S. official tells ABC that authorities are worried terrorists could be getting bombs implanted inside their bodies to evade searches on planes or other transportation.

“We are concerned about surgically implanted devices,” he said. “These are guys who have developed the techniques to defeat our detection methods.”

ABC News reports:

  • The terrorist group that generated the chatter picked up by U.S. intelligence is Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, which is based in Yemen. Run by a former Osama bin Laden aide, AQAP was behind the attempted attack by the underwear bomber in December 2009.
  • Authorities were stunned that AQAP broke “operational security” — they talked likely knowing it would be picked up by intercepts.
  • The AQAP members have displayed “confidence” and communicated with an “air of certainty.”
  • Authorities do not know the exact target of the planned attack. “We do not know whether they mean an embassy, an airbase, an aircraft, trains,” the official tells ABC News.

Fears of surgically implanted bombs aren’t new. The U.S. and its allies started issuing alerts about them after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to detonate the device in his underwear on a Detroit-bound airliner.