Intercepted messages between members of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) prompted the State Department to issue travel alerts and close American embassies over the weekend in the Middle East and North Africa.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is a branch of the al-Qaida organization based in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine says she's concerned that the "chatter" intercepted by the U.S. could be a diversion.
"Al-Qaida is better that this," Bodine told Here & Now. "They understand how to operate underneath an awful lot of our detection capabilities. Even as we improve them, they get better. The fact that this has been so brazen, so easy — what they have done in the past is they will do something like this, and it's a distraction."
Bodine refers to this as a "chatter rabbit."
"You end up sort of chasing what they want you to hear, as opposed to what they're really doing. You still have to have the abundance of caution, but there is this question that it's been almost too easy to see what they are purportedly talking about," she said.
- Barbara Bodine, former U.S. ambassador to Yemen. She's currently at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
This segment aired on August 5, 2013.