|Published:||Oct 31, 2010 4:33 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 31, 2010 1:33 PM EDT|
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. inspectors are heading to Yemen to monitor cargo security practices and pinpoint holes in the system.
An internal government report, obtained by The Associated Press, says the team of six inspectors from the Transportation Security Administration will give Yemeni officials recommendations and training to improve cargo security.
The report also says the agency is considering extending its security directive to increase inspection of cargo for all flights through Nov. 8.
Two women in Yemen have been arrested for sending mail bombs to Chicago synagogues. Authorities discovered the bombs Friday on cargo planes in the United Arab Emirates and England. Officials say the terror plot bears the hallmarks of al-Qaida.
President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser says U.S. officials "have to presume" there might be more potential mail bombs like the ones that were pulled off planes in England and the United Arab Emirates on Friday.
Deputy national security adviser John Brennan says the foiled plot bears the hallmarks of al-Qaida's Yemen branch, and that the terrorists group is "still at war with us and we are very much at war with them."
Brennan notes that because of the continuing threat, the world's largest package delivery companies - FedEx and UPS - have suspended air freight from Yemen.
Brennan tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that authorities are trying to determine whether the cargo planes were the intended targets.
A Qatar Airways spokesman says a parcel carrying the mail bomb found in Dubai traveled on two separate passenger planes.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the company's standing policies on conversations with the media.
The package arrived in Qatar Airways' hub in Doha, Qatar on a flight from the Yemeni capital San'a. It was then shipped on a separate plane to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where it was discovered by authorities.
One of the two powerful bombs shipped to Chicago-area synagogues nearly slipped past investigators even after they were tipped off.
A U.S. official says British authorities originally found no explosives in their sweep of cargo at the East Midlands airport in central England. After authorities in Dubai discovered a bomb there, however, British investigators restarted the search and found the second bomb.
The original oversight suggests the bomb was sophisticated enough to escape notice. It also shows how close the terrorists came to getting the explosives airborne.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)