U.S. and Yemeni officials say the supposed would-be bomber at the heart of an al-Qaida airliner plot was actually an informant working for the CIA.
The revelation, first reported by The Los Angeles Times, shows how the CIA was able to get its hands on a sophisticated underwear bomb well before an attack was set in motion.
Officials say the informant was working for the CIA and Saudi Arabian intelligence when he was given the bomb. He then turned the device over to authorities. Officials say the informant is safely out of Yemen.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive intelligence matter.
Associated Press writer Ahmed Al-Haj contributed to this report from Sanaa, Yemen.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)