More on Transatlantic Terror Plot

Debka: 'The White House says the terror plot to blow up six UK planes bound for the United States was a direct threat to the US. Five major American cities were targeted but not named. American officials reported the terrorists had planned to target flights to California, Washington and New York by United Airlines, American Airlines and Continental Airlines. The terror alert for incoming British flights was raised to red after the general level was put up to orange. The terror plot was suggestive of al Qaeda, according to US homeland security, which is sending federal air marshals to the UK. New York Mayor Bloomberg announced extra security measures at international airports and baggage searches on the subways as a precaution. All liquids have been banned on hand luggage in America. The suicide bombers were suspected of plotting to smuggle explosives aboard targeted flights in liquid form in hand luggage. Scotland Yard said 21 suspects, all British Muslims of Pakistani origin, had been arrested in the police operation and more were on the way. They said the terror plot was bigger than 9/11, would have involved deaths in “unimaginable” numbers and had “global dimensions.” ...'

ThreatsWatch explores the Pakistan connection and the link with Lashkar-e-Taiba.
From ABC News, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito report that British Intelligence had a man on the inside of the 30-man cell that sought to blow up US-bound airliners in a plot becoming known as “Bojinka II,” nearly identical in scope and method to Operation Bojinka I in 1995. In British Penetrate Terror Cell, it is also detailed that an arrest in Pakistan two days earlier caused the British operation – Operation Overt – to descend upon the cell before they learned of the individual arrested. A link between the deep mole and the arrested would have apparently tipped the cell to the British operation.

Also, the BBC reports that a Pakistan arrest several weeks ago originally unearthed the plot, which Pakistan claims uncovered the plot and led to the British investigation.

While it was feared that the Pakistani arrest on the Afghan border days ago would jeopardize the British operation, it is worth noting that the five ringleaders of the 30-man terror cell are not among the apprehended and on the loose, presumably still in Britain. Word from Pakistan would logically reach the leaders first. Did they take immediate evasive action and run aground in haste without informing the 24 who were eventually arrested? ...

The analysis disputes the conventional wisdom of the "busted-up, decentralized" terrorist organization, and of the "homegrown terrorist". Worth reading in fulll.

CTB has a roundup..
British authorities have been tracking the plot for months, and the arrests were made "when they learned several of the men had booked flights to the U.S. in the next several days, for apparent trial runs." The plot is walked back to Karachi, Pakistan. See the ABC News story on Matiur Rahman, key Al Qaeda operative who might have planned this operation. Also on ABC News site: Three alleged ringleaders have been identified; two recently traveled to Pakistan and later received money wired to them from Pakistan, reportedly to purchase tickets for the suicide bombers. Sources identify the three, now in custody, as Rashid Rauf, Mohammed al-Ghandra, and Ahmed al Khan. Fox News at 3 pm ET:"British authorities are 'urgently' seeking the arrests of up to 10 more suspects in the terrorist plot uncovered early Thursday morning to blow up U.S.-bound flights with liquid explosives carried onto planes via carry-on luggage." Twenty-four main suspects are now in custody. ...