U.S. officials are worried that al-Qaida has developed a new kind of bomb that can go undetected by airport security, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Intelligence agencies recently found out that al-Qaida’s Yemeni affiliate, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has developed a method for smuggling explosives through airport metal detectors, body scanners and physical pat-downs, two anonymous U.S. counterterrorism officials told the newspaper in a Wednesday article.
The concern has prompted Homeland Security Department head Jeh Johnson to order the implementation of “enhanced security measures” in the days ahead for U.S.-bound flights departing from Europe and the Middle East.
Officials are reportedly worried that al-Qaida might recruit Westerners that have been radicalized from their experience fighting in the Syrian civil war to smuggle the new type of bomb aboard a U.S.-bound passenger flight. U.S. agencies do not have information about any definitive plan to attack an airliner.
The tightened security will go into effect at 15 foreign airports, unidentified officials told the New York Times. Homeland Security has shared some intelligence and details about the new security protocols with partner governments and airline companies.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is understood to be more focused than any other foreign terrorist group on carrying out direct attacks on the U.S. homeland. The jihadist group thrice before has attempted unsuccessfully to bomb cargo and passenger planes flying to the United States. The organization’s head explosives expert, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, is still at large and has instructed a number of followers in the art of bomb making, officials said.
Some analysts believe that al-Qaida has a new incentive to carry out a high-profile attack on the United States or Europe in order to burnish its jihadist reputation, following the recent successes of its excommunicated former franchise, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in seizing control of broad swaths of land.
In the United Kingdom, the British Department for Transport on Wednesday announced it it would “step up some of our aviation security measures” in response to intelligence warnings from the United States, the London Guardian reported.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."