Bomb plot 'double agent' is Brit

The man who helped foil al-Qaeda's underwear bomb plot is a British citizen, possibly of Saudi origin, according to US media reports. UK officials have declined to comment.

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US Defence Secretary: 'These leaks damage our intelligence'

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in a press briefing at the Pentagon. Credit: ITV Nr

The US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said the leaks to the press about the identity of the undercover agent who foiled an al-Qaeda plot to blow up an underwear bomb were dangerous, and would be investigated.

Speaking to reporters at a press briefing at the Pentagon he said:

"The whole effort is to be able to try to get individuals who can provide intelligence and work with us, and to be able to do that, and to do that effectively you have to be able to protect these people"

"When these leaks take place, I can't tell you how much they damage our ability to be able to pursue our intelligence efforts"

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Undercover informant in foiling of underwear bomb plot was British citizen

The undercover informant in the foiled underwear bomb plot linked to al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate was a British citizen, possibly of Saudi origin, US counter-terrorism officials said.

British intelligence played a central role in the operation that foiled the plot to send a suicide bomber onto an airplane, and it was a cooperative effort between MI5 and MI6, Britain's domestic and foreign intelligence services known, officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

British intelligence 'played central role' in foiling underwear bomb plot

British intelligence played a central role in the undercover investigation to foil an underwear bomb plot involving al Qaeda's Yemeni offshoot, sources told the Reuters news agency.

The Obama administration had been under heavy pressure not to disclose the role of British authorities in the investigation.

The foiled plot ended with the explosive device in the hands of the FBI, which is examining it.

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US says no new airport security plans despite bomb plot

US congressional and security officials have suggested that there is no immediate need to change airport security procedures, despite the discovery of a sophisticated new al Qaeda airline bomb plot.

CIA thwarts an ambitious plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri Credit: AP Photo/Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior, File

US security officials said they remained confident in the security systems that were in place. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler said:

"These layers include threat and vulnerability analysis, pre-screening and screening of passengers, using the best available technology, random searches at airports, federal air marshal coverage and additional security measures both seen and unseen".

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