Suspicious Packages From Yemen (6)

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Homeland Terror Alerts, Suspicious Packages From Yemen (06)

Gibbs: Obama notified of ‘potential terrorist threat’ Thursday night

By Sam Youngman – 10/29/10 01:26 PM ET

The White House said that two suspicious packages discovered on cargo planes bound for the United States originated in Yemen.

President Obama was notified of the suspicious packages on Thursday night. British officials discovered a toner cartridge that was rigged with wires and white powder, which tested negative for explosives. Other packages originating from the same Yemen address were tracked down and searched.

 

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama instructed all relevant national security agencies to “take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people and to determine whether these threats were a part of any additional terrorist plotting.”

An official told The Associated Press that U.S. authorities are probing whether the incident was a dry run for a bomb plot.

Gibbs said in a statement that Obama was notified of the potential attacks at 10:35 p.m. Thursday by John Brennan, the president’s top adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism.

“Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages, one in East Midlands, United Kingdom, and one in Dubai,” Gibbs said. “Both of these packages originated from Yemen. As a result of security precautions triggered by this threat, the additional measures were taken regarding the flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International airports.”

Gibbs said the president has received regular updates on the situation.

Two suspicious packages were addressed to religious institutions in Chicago, according to the FBI, putting all churches and synagogues on alert in the city Friday.

Yemen has come under pressure from both the White House and Congress to rein in extremist elements in the country. The al Qaeda branch that claimed responsibility for the failed bombing attempt of an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day — al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — is headquartered in Yemen.

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