The United States reacted quickly today to news that a major terrorist plot had been foiled by British security forces, slapping the highest terrorism alert on commercial flights from the UK and tightening security precautions for all departures from US airports.
Michael Chertoff, who heads the Homeland Security Department set up after the terror attacks of 9/11, told an early morning press conference that the alleged plot in the UK was "suggestive of an al-Qaeda plot". He added: "We were really getting quite close to the execution phase."
Mr Chertoff and other US security chiefs had been kept well briefed by their British counterparts both before and after the overnight swoop in which 21 suspects, believed to be British citizens of Pakistani origin, were arrested.
US officials even supplied some extra details about the plot, said to involve simultaneous mid-air explosions on multiple commercial aircraft cross the Atlantic from the UK.
Counter-terrorist experts quoted by the Associated Press named three of the airlines targeted as Continental, United and American. The flights in question were thought to be travelling to New York, Washington and California.
They also explicitly confirmed what was only hinted at by British officials - that the explosives could involve liquids that were innocuous on their own but deadly when mixed. Source.