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. (Read more underwear bomber stories.)