Rep. Peter King (R-NY) says foiled terror plot shows a 'new level of sophistication' in Al Qaeda terror plans.
A weekend drone attack by the U.S. against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula agent Fahd Mohammed Ahmed Al-Quso and a foiled terror plot are linked, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) tells Soledad O'Brien on "Starting Point" this morning. This comes after a report was released yesterday that the CIA was able to stop a terrorist plot to blow up a plane in the u.S.
"I was told by the White House they are connected, they're part of the same operation, and that's why I said this operation is still ongoing," Rep. King says.
A source says the Saudis provided a tip on the plot.
We're also learning that the device is similar to that of the failed Christmas Day underwear bombing attempt nearly three years ago. The FBI says it's now testing and analyzing the device to see if it could have passed through an airport metal detector. All of it – a sobering reminder of Al Qaeda's threat.
In addition, CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend says Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula uses putty-type explosive that is non-metallic that may have been involved in the foiled plot.
We're getting some new insight this week into the enhanced interrogation techniques that were formally used by the CIA, which setup a nationwide controversy when they were made public back in 2009.
Jose Rodriguez, former director of CIA's National Clandestine Service, was the man who ordered the destruction of the tapes of some of those enhanced interrogation techniques and says he has no regrets. He's speaking out for the first time in his new book, "Hard Measures, How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives."
He talks live this morning with Soledad on "Starting Point" and explains that his book is not a defense of torture, but an explanation of the techniques they used. He also says claims that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times was totally overblown.
"It is a myth," Rodriguez says. "Somehow 183 pints of water became 183 times. Actually, he told the Red Cross that he was waterboarded during five sessions and that was it. It's a handful of times that he was waterboarded."
Rodriguez also says the technique usually encouraged subjects to start talking rather quickly.
"There were some detainees that actually in a few days they were cooperating. Be mindful that waterboarding was only done on three occasions to three persons who have American blood on their hands. But in most cases a few days, in case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a couple of weeks, two or three weeks," he says.
As for criticisms that 'enhanced interrogation' is just code for torture, Rodriguez says the 10 interrogation techniques mentioned in the book aren't that bad.
"If you look at the techniques themselves and if you actually paid attention and looked at the ten techniques that are used here, they are pretty wimpy if you look at them one at a time," He says. "These are things that I have no moral qualms on my own or anyone else who work with me in doing mindful of the fact these are people who killed and who are going to kill more of our people.
Airports across the world are stepping up security on the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden as new intelligence hints at future al Qaeda threats and authorities tell ABC News they fear the group may soon try to explode U.S.-bound aircraft with explosives hidden inside the bodies of terrorists.
“Al Qaeda and the terrorist threat is very much alive,” New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly tells "Starting Point" anchor Soledad O’Brien this morning.
Al Qaeda’s future plans detailed in documents German officials discovered encoded on a memory disk belonging to a suspected al Qaeda operative arrested in Berlin last year include hijacking a cruise ship, dressing the passengers in orange jump suits – to mimic Guantanamo Bay prisoners – and posting the "executions" on an al Qaeda web site.
The intelligence community in New York has also been looking into the idea of implanted body bombs that could possible escape airport-scanner detection for a while, Kelly said. “Obviously we have to be concerned about it.”
Kelly says anti-terrorism efforts in New York are focused closely on nuclear threats. “A nuclear event is the thing that concerns us the most.”
Watch Kelly talk to Soledad about New York’s One World Trade Center and the fight to prevent terrorism in the city he calls “the number one target in the United States.”
Kirk Lippold, former commanding officer or the USS Cole, on his book "Front Burner" on the story behind the ship bombing. He explains that if the U.S. had responded differently to the attack, the trajectory of international terrorism may be very different today.