"Zawahiri is trying to micromanage" Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, said a Yemeni official, who did not want to be identified about an intelligence matter. "Because there is nothing left in Pakistan, he is communicating a lot with AQAP."
Zawahiri ordered Nasser Wuhayshi, who heads the Yemeni group, to orchestrate an attack as soon as this last Sunday, officials said. The intelligence prompted U.S. officials to close embassies, consulates and smaller diplomatic posts across the Middle East and parts of Africa, as well as issue a worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens.
Officials are not convinced the threat has waned, and the
“They are trying to figure out now whether Al Qaeda has decided to postpone the attack or has chosen a different target,” said Rep.
Schiff said intelligence officials see "more than generalized planning. They believe this is more specific, more credible and more action-oriented than mere aspirations to attack."
Officials remain deeply concerned about the potential involvement of Ibrahim Hassan Asiri, a Saudi-born bomb maker living in Yemen who has played a role in several high-profile plots in the past. Asiri has built devices designed to evade airport bomb detectors, Schiff said, though there is no specific information that the current plot involves threats to commercial aviation.
"He's probably our public enemy No. 1," Schiff said.