House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King says he was caught completely off guard Monday when the Obama administration revealed a terrorist plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner had been thwarted.
“I think it’s one of the most tightly held operations I’ve seen,” the New York Republican told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday night. “I can tell you, myself and no other member of Congress, knew anything about this.”
King said administration officials even seemed surprised by it, and he questioned whether the CIA intelligence operation that discovered the al-Qaida plot — that apparently originated in Yemen — had been compromised by a leak.
“It’s almost as if it was leaked. . . . It seems the administration was playing catch-up with it,” King said, adding that “something with the timing here raises questions.”
“Even with the bin Laden killing, some members of Congress knew about it before it happened,” he said.
But when pressed by Cooper on whether he was suggesting that it was leaked by the administration for political reasons, King said, “I’m not trying to bring politics into this at all.”
He said he was simply suggesting that if it was leaked it’s important to find out who did it and why because of the risks posed to other sensitive intelligence gathering operations.
U.S. officials declined to say where the CIA seized the bomb. The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or purchased plane tickets when the CIA seized the bomb, officials said.
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