10 Terrorist Plots That Failed

The USS The Sullivans
Jamal Mohammed al-Bedawi (L) shouts from behind bars and Fahd al-Quso (R) looks on as they hear the verdict in Yemen at the end of the trial of six militants charged with the October 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer USS Cole. KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images

The target of this terrorist plot in January 2000 wasn't on U.S. soil. Instead, it was the USS The Sullivans Navy ship, which was docked near the port city of Aden, Yemen.

The terrorist's plan was a straightforward one: Al-Qaida operatives would load explosives into a small boat, navigate near the Navy ship and then blow up themselves, their boat and the Navy's carrier.

It seems like the plot could have used a few more layers. After launching from the beach, the boat immediately sank under the weight of the explosives. The conspirators regrouped to plan another attack.

Unfortunately, Jamal Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Badawi and Fahd al-Quso were successful using the same tactics on the USS Cole in October 2000 and killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured 40 others.

In 2004, the pair was among a group of six sentenced by a Yemeni court for the Cole attacks [sources: Department of Justice, Branigin. Al-Quso was later released but continued his al-Qaida activities, including meeting with the "underwear bomber." He was killed by the CIA in a drone attack in 2012 [source: Al-Haj]. Al-Badawi was sentenced to death, but escaped during a prison transfer in 2006. He later turned himself in and was set free by Yemeni authorities. As of 2013 the FBI was offering a $5 million reward for his capture [source: Tilford].

More to Explore