One of the operating theories about the “suspicious packages,” sent from Yemen and apparently targeted at synagogues in Chicago, is that they were dry runs for a future attack:
U.S. counterterrorism officials said that two suspicious packages removed from cargo planes en route to the United States on Friday did not contain explosives but may have been part of an attempt by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen to test cargo screening systems for vulnerabilities.
“That’s one of the theories – that they are testing the system and probing for weaknesses,” said a U.S. counterterrorism official. “Rehearsals get you closer to the game.”
The official said that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP, as the Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot is known, is suspected of being involved in the plot. “They’re on the short list,” the official said.
The White House said that intelligence and law enforcement agencies had “discovered potential suspicious packages on two planes in transit to the United States.”