British authorities said Thursday they have disrupted a sophisticated and well-advanced terrorist plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners using liquid explosives, arresting 21 people who police said had planned to commit mass murder over the Atlantic Ocean.
Police said they were confident they had the "main players" in custody, but authorities in London and Washington ordered a full-scale security clampdown at U.S. and British airports out of concern that other plotters may still be at large.
John Kerry released the following statement on the thwarted terror plot:
"We are all incredibly grateful and fortunate that British authorities were able to prevent these attacks before more innocent people could be killed by these ruthless murderers.
"This is a stark reminder that the war on terrorism is global, and extends far beyond Iraq to our very shores. Terrorism is the biggest threat to Americans' security, and this event exposes the misleading myth that we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. In fact, the war in Iraq has become a dangerous distraction, and a profound drain on our financial and military resources.
"Nearly five years after the attacks of 9/11, we are not as safe as we can and must be. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. The 9/11 Commission's recommendations to secure our most vulnerable infrastructure remain virtually ignored. And, homeland security funding has been cut for cities like Boston and New York.
"It's clear that staying the current course in Iraq is not making the American people any safer at home or abroad, and has hurt our fight in the war on terror. We need to put the focus back where it belongs, and make America as safe as it can and must be."