Known by U.S. intelligence agencies as the ‘Evil Genius,’ the al-Qaeda bomb maker linked to the foiled plot to use underwear bombs on U.S.-bound flights has emerged as the most feared face of terror for American authorities.
His name is Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, and at the age of 30, he has built up quite the terrorist résumé. In addition to being linked to the latest airline-bomb scheme, he was the man behind the Christmas Day underwear bomb in 2009 and the printer-cartridge bombs found in cargo plans in 2010.
However, before those failed attempts against Americans, his most notably achievement (if you can call it that) was turning his younger brother into a suicide bomber.
In August of 2009, he strapped a bomb to his brother and instructed him to kill Saudi Arabia’s top counterterrorism official. That mission failed too, the target was only injured in the explosion. His brother, on the other hand, was not so lucky.
Now, al-Asiri is dreaming up new ways to conceal bombs, including placing them in cameras, computers and even pets, U.S. officials told ABC News.
“[He’s] very innovative in trying to find some way to get a bomb onto an airplane that will evade detection from airport screeners,” said Seth Jones, former senior adviser to the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Officials say that al-Asiri runs his operations out of Yemen; consequently they’ve vowed to step up counter-insurgency efforts there.
It is al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen that “we’re most worried about, the affiliate we spend the most time on. They’re operating in the midst of essentially an insurgency, a multi-polar struggle for the control of Yemen. And that allows them the opportunity to recruit, to fundraise, to plot,” say US counterterrorism officials.
But others worry that even if U.S. operatives kill al-Qaeda’s key bomb maker, it may be too late as he’s already made a huge impact on the terrorist organization.
“I think it is safe to assume that in the nearly six years that he has been in Yemen, he has trained other individuals to replace him if he were to be killed,” Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert at Princeton University, wrote on his blog on Tuesday. “It is unlikely that Asiri is the only bombmaker AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] has within its ranks – he is just the only name we know.”
One can only hope that this bastard blows himself up in the very near future.