MIAMI (CBS4) -Pentagon officials say al Qaeda terrorists were, once again, plotting to blow up a plane using a bomb inside a passenger’s underwear.

The bomb CIA operatives seized, is described as a more sophisticated version of the underwear bomb that failed to detonate on Christmas 2009 on a plane headed for Detroit. Officials say the bomber had not yet selected a target or purchased tickets but was planning to blow up a plane headed to the United States.

Here in South Florida, Captain Richard Walterman of the Miami Police Department’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security told CBS4’s Maggie Newland he is not surprised terrorists targeted an airplane.

“It actually seems to be where we’re most vulnerable. Unfortunately for us, the terrorists are gonna hit us where those vulnerabilities exist,” said Walterman.

Planes have been the target of numerous attempted attacks. In 2010, explosives were planted inside printer cartridges and shipped to the U.S. in cargo planes. And just three months after the 9/11 attacks, Richard Reid attempted to blow up a plane bound for Miami.

“Unfortunately for us,” said Walterman, “I think Miami is a very attractive target and there’s events that happen here all the time that would give potential terrorists international attention.”

That’s why police here train all the time to prepare for potential terrorist threats.

Walterman explained, “We identify critical infrastructure throughout the city of Miami and do what we can to protect it or enhance its safety. We train our police officers.”


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