When the government makes vague assertions anonymously, it serves political -- and not national security -- ends, so it's worth reserving judgment.
Here's how an Associated Press story about the latest "thwarted terror plot" begins:
At the FBI's explosives lab in Virginia, experts are picking apart a sophisticated new al-Qaida bomb to figure out whether it could have slipped past airport security and taken down a commercial airplane, U.S. officials said.
The unexploded bomb represents an intelligence prize, the result of a covert CIA operation in Yemen that thwarted a suicide mission around the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, officials said. The device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it.