Another tantalizing—and potentially damaging—tidbit has leaked about the double-agent who foiled an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula underwear bomb plot. The agent is of Saudi descent but lived for years in Britain, where he spent some time with jihadist sympathizers and acquired a British passport, sources tell CNN. When Saudi intelligence got wind of the bomb plot, they sent him to a school in Yemen, hoping his background and his British passport (which eliminates the need to obtain a visa to enter the US) would make him an irresistible target for AQAP talent scouts.
It worked. The agent was trained to use the underwear bomb as a suicide bomber. "Apparently he was able to convince al-Qaeda that he is genuinely ready to carry out the mission," says one man briefed by Saudi intelligence. But Saudi intelligence wasn't riding solo: Sources tell NBC that British intelligence was "heavily involved" in recruiting the agent. That leak won't go over well in England, a BBC correspondent says, because intelligence agencies aren't supposed to reveal details about each other's activities. The CIA is already unhappy about leaks in the case, and is launching an investigation.