On Monday, U.S. officials confirmed that an al-Qaeda member regarded as "probably the most sophisticated terrorist bomb maker on the planet” was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year. As Fox News reported, “The Associated Press previously reported that Ibrahim al-Asiri was dead, citing a tribal leader and an Al Qaeda-linked source who said that he was killed in the governate of Marib in eastern Yemen.”
Ibrahim al-Asiri, who supervised a plot to down a jet over Detroit on Christmas 2009, had reputedly created the underwear bomb that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to use to blow up the plane. Abdulmutallab failed to detonate the bomb. Al-Asiri also participated in a scheme to hide explosives in printer cartridges transported to the U.S.
Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell told CBS News, "Probably the most sophisticated terrorist bomb maker on the planet. Incredibly creative, incredibly innovative," adding that TSA procedures have been made more strict because of al-Asiri. Morell stated, "A good chunk of what you have to take out of your bag and what has to be screened is because of Asiri and his capabilities of putting explosives in very difficult to find places.”
On August 27, 2009, al-Asiri’s brother Abdullah blew himself up trying to assassinate Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of the Interior; Abdullah used a pentaerythritol tetranitrate bomb that his brother had hidden in his rectum, blowing himself up. Al-Asiri was believed to be responsible for the bombs found on Otober 29, 2010, on separate cargo planes bound from Yemen to the United States.
Al-Asiri reputedly taught his bomb-making techniques to subordinates.