By Jim Kouri
An alleged intelligence leak regarding a covert operation that thwarted an “underwear bomb” plot last week is now creating distrust and ill feelings within the U.S. intelligence community and has led to increased talk about intelligence leaks at the highest levels of government, according to terrorism experts on Friday.
Former Central Intelligence Agency officers are openly blaming President Barack Obama, his administration, and possibly his campaign committee for undermining national security and compromising the British domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, for political reasons, according to a U.S. counterterrorism source who contacted the Law Enforcement Examiner on Friday and requested anonymity.
“When presidents are in trouble because of their failing domestic agenda, they attempt to look presidential by getting involved in military or intelligence operations. And Obama has taken that to a whole new level,” said the source.
MI5 is Britain’s domestic security agency Military Intelligence Section 5, while MI6 is their foreign intelligence agency known as Military Intelligence Section 6.
During an appearance on Fox New Channel, FNC’s regular intelligence analyst Mike Scheur, a former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit under George W. Bush, said the leaking of British involvement was “despicable and would make a repeat of the operation [that thwarted an attack] difficult.”
“MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president, if he has the balls. This is really tragic,” said the refreshingly blunt terrorism expert. He added, “Any information disclosed is too much information. This does seem to be [a leak] for political reasons.”
There are some who believe this episode will reduce the trust factor between the U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies in Britain, Israel and other allies. Former military intelligence officer and NYPD detective Michael Snopes claims that intelligence agencies in Israel and Europe believe that the American intelligence and law enforcement communities are too leak-prone.
“There’s always been a problem with politicians and bureaucrats leaking classified information for political purposes, but now it appears to be standard operating procedure,” said Snopes. “In my opinion, that’s what you get when you have a community organizer as your Commander in Chief.”
White House officials originally stated that Obama was made aware in April of an al-Qaeda affiliate’s foiled plot to blow up a U.S.-bound passenger airplane. It was later reported that the man with the improvised explosive device was an infiltrator of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who was actually a CIA asset (informant).
However, according to several confidential sources contacted by the Law Enforcement Examiner, it was discovered that the informant was a British MI6 intelligence asset and not an informant for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
This thwarted terrorist plot revealed a modernized version of the “underwear bomb” that failed to detonate aboard a plane arriving at Detroit International Airport on Christmas Day 2009. This upgraded bomb was designed to be used in a passenger’s underwear, but contained a more a refined detonation system, U.S. police bomb technicians told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
“The 2009 IED [improvised explosive device] was amateurish compared to this upgraded device. It was also designed to pass through airport security screening equipment and metal detectors,” said a veteran bomb tech.
While there are still numerous unanswered questions due to security concerns, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged the seizure of an improvised explosive device (IED) designed to carry out a terrorist attack in press statements. However, they failed to mention that the seizure was accomplished in an MI6 operation and the Obama White House had noting to do with the informant and his activities.
FBI officials said they are in possession of the explosive device and conducting technical and forensics analysis on it. Initial examination indicates that the device is quite similar to the IEDs that have been used by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in terrorist attacks, but the identity of the informant who successfully confiscated the device and turned it over to U.S. officials remains unknown to the general public.