* Rep. King, White House say bomber suspect no longer a
* Design of new "underwear bomb" was a threat - Brennan
WASHINGTON May 8 A suspected U.S. drone strike
in Yemen that killed two members of al Qaeda on Sunday was part
of a larger effort to intercept a more advanced "underwear
bomb," the chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security
Committee said on Tuesday.
"I was told by the White House that they are connected, that
they are part of the same operation," Representative Peter King
told CNN a day after news of the intercepted bomb that
authorities said was intended to make its way to an airplane
bound for the United States or other Western country.
King and U.S. security officials did not say what happened
to the suspected suicide bomber or if he was killed in the
"The person who actually had the bomb is no longer a
threat," King said.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama's top counter terrorism
adviser and a former CIA official, told ABC's "Good Morning
America" program that authorities are "confident that neither
the device nor the intended user of this device pose a threat to
On Monday, the Obama administration said Middle East
authorities had seized an improved underwear bomb within the
last 10 days that they said shows al Qaeda's determination to
build bombs that can pass through airport security systems.
A day earlier, two Yemeni members of al Qaeda were killed by
a missile strike on their car, although Washington and Yemen do
not acknowledge U.S. drone attacks on militants in the country.
U.S. officials have said the plot was detected in its early
stages and that no U.S. airliner was ever at risk.
Brennan, who also spoke on NBC and CBS, said Americans
boarding airplanes should feel confident that intelligence
agencies are working to keep them safe and that officials are
"confident that this redundant security system provides us the
protection that we need."
U.S. officials have said the latest bomb incorporated design
features which were somewhat more sophisticated than a bomb used
in two attempted attacks in 2009.
King told CNN the bomb did not have any metal parts.
Asked if the new, more sophisticated underwear bomb could
have gotten through current airport security checks, Brennan
said it "was a threat from the standpoint of the design that we
have been able to determine.
"Now we're trying to make sure that we take the measures
that we need to to prevent any other type of IED similarly
constructed from getting through security," he told ABC.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)