A look at statements about foiled terror plot

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Associated Press

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 14 at 4:03 PM

A look at the events and public statements surrounding an Associated Press story about a foiled plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner:

—May 2, 2012: Federal government officials ask the AP to delay publishing a story about a foiled plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner, which the AP had recently discovered. They cite national security concerns. The AP agrees to temporarily delay publishing until national security concerns are allayed.

—May 7, 2012: Federal government officials inform the AP that the national security concerns have been allayed, but they still ask AP to withhold publishing the story until an official announcement planned for the following day. The AP declines and publishes the story. Later that day, John Brennan, then the president's chief counterterrorism adviser, conducts a teleconference with analysts to discuss the plot. He assures them the bomb was never a threat to the American public.

—Feb. 7, 2013: Brennan, during his nomination hearing to become CIA director, tells senators, "I said there was never a threat to the American public, as we had said so publicly, because we had inside control of the plot and the device was never a threat to the American public."

—May 14, 2013: Attorney General Eric Holder describes the disclosure of information about the foiled plot as "a very, very serious leak." Holder says: "It put the American people at risk. And that is not hyperbole. It put the American people at risk. And trying to determine who was responsible for that, I think, required very aggressive action." Holder does not specify how the disclosure of information about the foiled plot had endangered Americans.

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