***President Bush to speak on war on terror at 12:30 pm ET***
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says that this plot is suggestive of al Qaeda.
Read Secretary Chertoff’s statement here.
The Corner reports that the British at thier news conference wouldn’t “comment on that possibility.”
Evan Kohlman at Counterterrorism Blog says that the US has known of al Qaeda’s use of liquid bombs:
Though for some, news of a reported Al-Qaida plot to down multiple commercial airliners with liquid explosives may sound exotic and unusual, in fact, U.S. authorities have been aware of such a threat from Al-Qaida affiliates for over a decade.
In 1995, when U.S. and Philippine security services uncovered a plot by 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and his uncle 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to bomb over a dozen U.S. airliners simultaneously over the Pacific Ocean, they quickly moved in and arrested their co-conspirators. One of the detained men, trained commercial pilot Abdel Hakim Murad, described Ramzi Yousef’s plans in detail — including his intention to travel to “France, Egypt, and Algeria after the activities here in the Philippines. The purpose was to train those Muslim brothers thereat, on using a Casio watch as a timing device, chemical mixtures to compound bombs, and to share his expertise in eluding detection on an airport’s x-ray machine, and eventually smuggling [onboard] this liquid chemical bombs. Furthermore, France has a lot of Algerians staying and that these Egyptians and Algerians ha[ve] no experience on making these bombs and [do] not know the basics of smuggling liquid bombs through the airport.”
John Reid, UK’s home secretary said UK is currently living in the longest state of threat since World War II.
Update: Megyn Kendall at Fox says that the terrorists wanted to target at least 10 different US bound planes and blow them up in quick succession, one right after another. The bombs required several different liquids which, when combined, explode.
Update II: This plot is almost exactly like that hatched in 1995 by Ramzi Youseff:
Dr Peter Neumann, director of the Center for Defense Studies at London’s King’s College, said the plot bore many similarities to one in 1995 by Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, convicted of planning to blow up the World Trade Center.
“He actually planned to blow up 11 planes over the Pacific with a liquid explosive,” Neumann told Reuters. “This is almost exactly the same type of plan we see emerging in this particular instance.”
Update III: Announced on Fox: Mass. Governor Mitt Romney is activating the National Guard to help with security at Logan International Airport. It’s the first time since 9/11.