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Al Qaida 'bomber' was CIA informant

The supposed would-be bomber at the heart of an al Qaida airliner plot was in fact an informant working for the CIA, US and Yemeni officials have said.

The revelation, first reported by The Los Angeles Times, shows how the CIA was able to get its hands on a sophisticated underwear bomb well before an attack was set in motion.

Officials say the informant was working for the CIA and Saudi Arabian intelligence when he was given the bomb.

He then turned the device over to authorities.

Officials said the informant was safely out of Yemen.