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U.S. steps up Yemen efforts

From NBC's Robert Windrem
A senior counter-terrorism official says that at this point, the U.S. government is not yet able to account for the time Abdulmutallab spent in Yemen earlier this year nor who he met with. 

The official says it appears that Abdulmutallab spent "months" rather that "a month" in Yemen. (Other officials say that reports of his meeting Anwar al-Alauqi are inaccurate.) Abdulmutallab's mother is Yemeni.

This is being "worked hard," said the official, in light of Yemen's increasingly prominent role in al Qaeda activities ... and the U.S. cooperation with Yemen on counter-terrorism operations. Twice in the last two weeks, the U.S. has participated in Yemeni operations against al Qaeda camps, killing more than 60 fighters.

The official said among the things the U.S. is looking at is a statement made early last week by a leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, claiming, "We are dispatching a bomb to hit the enemies of Allah," meaning the U.S.

Mohammed Salih Omair delivered the speech to a group of fighters in Yemen following the first airstrike against al Qaeda Dec. 17.

There is no evidence to suggest that the statement is linked to the NWA 258 incident, but counter-terrorism officials are aware of it. Omair is believed to have been killed a few days after the speech.