90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Bomb Plot Foiled

The CIA says it’s stopped an al-Qaida plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner. We’ll go deep on how they spotted the plot and the bomb threat now.

This undated file photo released by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010, in a combination of two photos which they say both show bomb maker suspect Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others that al-Qaida built into printer cartridges and shipped to the U.S. on cargo planes in 2010. U.S. bomb experts are picking apart a sophisticated new al-Qaida improvised explosive device, a top Obama administration counterterrorism official said Tuesday, to determine if it could have slipped past airport security and taken down a commercial airplane. (AP)

This undated file photo released by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010, in a combination of two photos which they say both show bomb maker suspect Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others that al-Qaida built into printer cartridges and shipped to the U.S. on cargo planes in 2010. U.S. bomb experts are picking apart a sophisticated new al-Qaida improvised explosive device, a top Obama administration counterterrorism official said Tuesday, to determine if it could have slipped past airport security and taken down a commercial airplane. (AP)

The news reports on the double agent in Arabia and the foiled bomb plot aimed at U.S.-bound airliners reads like a script from “Mission Impossible.” 

A super sting.  A double agent inserted into the heart of al-Qaida in Yemen, pretending to be a willing suicide bomber, coming out alive with the latest, fiendish creation of a master bomb maker: a deadly underwear bomb so subtle it might have slipped right through. We’re past panicking every time we hear the name al-Qaida. But this gets our attention. 

This hour, On Point:  al-Qaida, the sting, and the threat now.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Brian Bennett, national security correspondent for the Los Angeles Times

Philip Mudd, senior research fellow, Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative at the New America Foundation. He’s the former deputy director, National Security Branch of the FBI and former deputy director of the CIA’s  Counterterrorism Center.

Bruce Hoffman, Professor and Director, Center for Peace and Security Studies and Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Daily Beast “The infamous Ibrahim al Asiri is thought to have orchestrated al Qaeda’s latest foiled bomb plot. Bruce Riedel on how an enemy in Yemen and his pupils are determined to blast their way into American history.”

ABC News “In a stunning intelligence coup, a dangerous al Qaeda bomb cell in Yemen was successfully infiltrated by an inside source who secretly worked for the CIA and several other intelligence agencies, authorities revealed to ABC News.”

CBS News ” Inspire, an online magazine associated with an al Qaeda affiliate group called AQAP or al Qaeda of the Arabia Peninsula continues to be published a year after its publisher and editor were killed. This week, the magazine surprised some when it released a double issue. ”

The Washington Post “The CIA and overseas intelligence partners disrupted an al-Qaeda plot to blow up civilian aircraft using an advanced explosive device designed by the terrorist network’s affiliate in Yemen, U.S. officials said Monday.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jan 30, 2015
Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch gathers her papers during a break in her testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on her nomination. (AP)

Obama abroad. Hostage drama. Attorney general hearings. Snow days. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Jan 30, 2015
In the new film "American Sniper," Bradley Cooper plays real-life US Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who was the deadliest marksman in American history. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

“American Sniper.” Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper’s war film keeps crushing at the box office and stirring more controversy. We’ll go to it.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 29, 2015
This Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014 a street side memorial with a painted portrait of Ezell Ford near where he was shot when police confronted him on Aug. 11, 2014, on a street near his home in South Los Angeles. (AP)

The author of “Ghettoside” takes us deep into murder and law enforcement in minority neighborhoods. We want your story.

 
Jan 29, 2015
Mike Johnson, a sales manager at a local Honda car dealership, walks past a row of Honda CRV SUVs Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, in Tempe, Ariz.  (AP)

Is it the next subprime scandal? Banking giants piling into high-interest auto loans for the poor. We’ll investigate.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
2 Comments
 
Caller To Author Ron Rash: ‘You Cared About People Like Me’
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

An unexpected caller from South Carolina brings back guest Ron Rash’s years as a community college professor in a movingly real way.

More »
1 Comment