U.S. Anti-Terror Chief: Authorities on Hunt for More Explosive Packages

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Bond said the only possible reason he could imagine for the Saudis wanting to be fingered as the source of the intelligence would be if they wanted to build good will on Capitol Hill. Congress is just now digesting the news announced last month that the administration plans to sell Saudi Arabia up to $60 billion in aircraft, helicopters and other arms.

"If any of my colleagues have doubt that they can be friendly, I suppose this would send a strong signal that they can be friendly," Bond said.

A White House official told ABC News Sunday the decision to acknowledge publicly that Saudi Arabia provided information that was instrumental in disrupting the planned attack "was closely coordinated with Saudi officials."

"Saudi Arabia has been an outstanding counterterrorism partner, and Saudi officials believe it is important to highlight their determination to fight al-Qaeda as well as the strength of the U.S.-Saudi counterterrorism partnership," an administration official said.

Brennan made the rounds Sunday morning, providing new information about how the plot was unfolding. He told CNN the bombs "could have brought those planes down."

"They were self-contained. They were able to be detonated at a time of the terrorists' choosing," Brennan said. "They were destined for a particular location in the United States and Chicago, but it appears as though they had the capability to be detonated on board that aircraft, and they could have brought those planes down."

Brennan said U.S. officials are working closely with British and Emirati authorities on the construction of the explosives. He told ABC News there are strong suspicions that the bomb maker who constructed the latest devices also made the underpants bomb that failed to explode last year.

He told CNN the devices "seem to be very sophisticated both in terms of the type of construction as well as the concealment techniques that were used. So we're still learning a lot about this plot and we're trying to make sure that we do everything possible to protect air travel as well as the American public and others."

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