The Associated Press reports that Fahd al Quso, one of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s top military commanders, was involved in the 2009 plot to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day:
While the target and timing were unimportant, the mission itself was a highly organized plot that involved one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists and al-Qaida’s go-to bomb maker, current and former officials said. Before Abdulmutallab set off on his mission, he visited the home of al-Qaida manager Fahd al-Quso to discuss the plot and the workings of the bomb.
Al-Quso, 36, is one of the most senior al-Qaida leaders publicly linked to the Christmas plot. His association with al-Qaida stretches back more than a decade to his days in Afghanistan when, prosecutors said, bin Laden implored him to “eliminate the infidels from the Arabian Peninsula.”
From there he rose through the ranks. He was assigned the job in Aden to videotape the 1998 suicide bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors and injured 39 others, but fell asleep. Despite the lapse, he is now a mid-level manager in the organization. Al-Quso is from the same tribe as radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who had an operational role in the botched Christmas attack.
In September 2010, Pakistani intelligence officials claimed Quso was killed in a US Predator strike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. On Dec. 7, 2010, the US State Department officially added Quso to the list of specially designated global terrorists. On Dec. 16, 2010, an interview with Quso was released that confirmed he was alive. In the interview, he denied traveling to Pakistan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.