Test Run Revealed in Yemen-Chicago Bomb Plot

Packages seized contained Chicago address

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    his undated file photo released on Oct. 30, 2010 by the Dubai Police via the state Emirates News Agency (WAM) claims to show a computer printer and other contents of a package found onboard a cargo plane coming from Yemen, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

    American Intelligence Officials believe mail packages intercepted by officials in September served as a potential test run for the Yemen-to-Chicago mail bomb plot uncovered Friday.

    In September, U.S. authorities seized three boxes after receiving intelligence linking the packages to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. During an investigation, officials found papers, books and other materials, but no evidence of explosives. They eventually permitted the packages to continue to what appeared to be "random addresses" in Chicago, according to the New York Times.

    "We received information several weeks ago that potentially connected these packages to AQAP. The boxes were stopped in transit and searched," said an official who was familiar with details of the shipments.

    The New York Times reports September's suspected dry run could have created a timetable for an actual attack. By tracking the packages, plotters could have estimated when the cargo planes flew over Chicago or another city, which would have enabled them to set timers on explosive devices.

    The mail bombs recovered Friday in Dubia and Britian contained wired denators that used cell phone techonlogy, according to an official close to the invesitgation.

    American Intelligence officials believe 28-year-old Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is the suspected bomb-maker. Yemeni and American intelligence officials stepped up the hunt to find him.