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The news that Al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen sought to detonate a sophisticated explosive on a passenger flight is disturbing, though not entirely surprising. It reinforces what we already know: The remnants of Al Qaeda are still trying to kill Americans. US agents stopped this second underwear bomb attack by using an informant who managed to infiltrate Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, volunteer for a suicide mission, and then turn on the terrorists. It was almost perfect counterterrorism. But there was a fatal flaw: Someone in government decided this all made for a fabulous story.


Kayyem, Juliette. "A Plot Foiled, but a US Agency Rift Exposed." Boston Globe, May 10, 2012.