United States Reportedly Snooped On Al-Qaeda “Conference Call,” Yemen Terror Plots Foiled

Three U.S. officials say the intelligence came from a conference call, but some are skeptical of the report. Meanwhile, Yemen authorities foiled a plot to blow up oil pipelines, take over a major port, and kidnap or kill foreigners working there.

1. The intelligence that led the U.S. to close 19 U.S. embassies was from a conference call between high-level operatives, according to a Daily Beast report based on information from three intelligence officials.

Reuters TV / Reuters

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri along with Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al-Qaeda’s affiliate based in Yemen, were on the call along with more than 20 al-Qaeda operatives.

2. One intelligence official told The Daily Beast the conference call gathering was “like a meeting of the Legion of Doom,” the supergroup of villains who fight the Justice League.

“This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom,” one U.S. intelligence officer told The Daily Beast, referring to the coalition of villains featured in the Saturday morning cartoon Super Friends. The official said Zawahiri announced to the broader organization during the meeting that Wuhayshi had been promoted to “Ma’sul al-Amm,” an Arabic term that roughly translates as “general manager.” The promotion effectively gave the leader of al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen operational control of al Qaeda’s many affiliates throughout the Muslim world, the official said, a key factor that led the State Department to close embassies, missions, and consulates throughout the region. “All you need to do is look at that list of places we shut down to get a sense of who was on the phone call,” the official said.

4. Some were skeptical of the report of a conference call.

Saeed Shah


So there was no al Qaeda “conference call”, just a call between Zawahiri + his new general manager in Yemen, http://t.co/wJNVYwt5Nq

5. Including Yemen’s spokesperson in Washington, D.C.

Mohammed Albasha


I doubt #alQaeda can coordinate a 20+ conference call with operatives from multiple nations, what language did they all speak?! #Yemen

I am skeptical that al Qaeda does conference calls, by the way.

— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell)

Blake Hounshell


I am skeptical that al Qaeda does conference calls, by the way.

7. Meanwhile, Yemeni security officials said they foiled a plot to blow up oil pipelines and seize an important port.

Khaled Abdullah / Reuters

The plan would have involved many al-Qaeda operatives wearing Yemeni Army uniforms to seize the port and then attack, kill, or kidnap foreigners working there, The New York Times reports.

8. The terror plot was to be a retaliation for U.S. attacks against al-Qaeda leaders, according to the Associated Press:

Yemeni investigators looking into the threat said they believe the motive of the attack was retaliation for the killing of Saudi-born Saeed al-Shihri, who was released from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay after nearly six years and later became the No. 2 al-Qaida leader in Yemen.

9. Richard Engel of NBC News notes that the Yemen plot was not the one that led the U.S. to close embassies.

#Yemen's foiled al-qeada plot, not THE plot behind embassy closures, security alerts, US officials say

— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel)

Richard Engel


#Yemen’s foiled al-qeada plot, not THE plot behind embassy closures, security alerts, US officials say

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at adrian.carrasquillo@buzzfeed.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.
More News
More News
Now Buzzing