How Decoded Emails Helped Britain, U.S. Foil Terror Plots


The Washington Post describes a string of coded email messages that allowed National Security Agency to foil a suicide bombing plot in the New York City subway system four years ago. Officials say about 50 such plots have been disrupted as a result of information gathered by National Security Agency monitoring.

The Post said one case began in 2008 when Abid Naseer, a Pakistani student living in Manchester, England, began to e-mail a Yahoo account traced back to his home country that used the names of women — Nadia, Huma, Gulnaz and Fozia — as code for different types of explosives. Another message, announcing a “marriage to Nadia,” was a signal that a terrorist attack in England was imminent. The intelligence helped stop that plot, and the contacts from that case helped the NSA disrupt the subway threat, which used similar codes, such as “The marriage is ready.”

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