London: Al Qaeda terror chiefs believed the British double agent, who foiled an underwear bomb plot to blow up a US-bound airliner, was from a radical Islamic background.
According to US intelligence, the double agent was a close relative who was trusted by al Qaeda leaders in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), The Telegraph reports.
American intelligence said that the British passport of the agent attracted al Qaeda, as they believed he would be able to board a flight to America under the visa-waiver programme.
"He apparently came from what AQAP regarded as a good family, meaning that they believed he was a radical Islamist in his DNA, and was brought in to the group by a close male relative," Dan Goure, a Pentagon consultant and vice president of the Lexington Institute, a national security think tank, said.
However, it is unclear whether the agent`s radical family roots were genuine, and whether he infiltrated AQAP as a mole or only changed sides later.
Moreover, the AQAP knew that Saudi intelligence agencies, which handled the agent, were trying to infiltrate their man into the group and they could have conducted detailed checks on the agent.
The plot was foiled with the help of British, Saudi and American intelligence and counter-terror agencies teamwork.
It comes as US drone attacks have also been intensified on al Qaeda locations in Yemen, killing several leading figures.