A high-ranking Yemeni security official has told McClatchy that the Obama administration’s recently announced terror threat which supposedly targeted US embassies had “no basis in fact” and was manufactured merely to dampen opposition to drone strikes.

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After initially warning of a terror plot “thought to have been one of the most serious against American and other Western interests since the September 11 attacks,” the US closed 20 embassies and consulates earlier this month, 18 of which reopened yesterday.

The announcement of the threat occurred as it was simultaneously acknowledged that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last year was linked to a clandestine CIA arms smuggling operation based in the Libyan city that was being used to transport arms to rebels in Syria, many of whom are allied with Al-Qaeda militants.

The announcement of the threat against US embassies also served to justify blanket NSA surveillance, leading some to suggest that the alleged plot was being hyped to distract from the Edward Snowden scandal. It was later claimed that the NSA had intercepted a “conference call” of Al-Qaeda members during which militants discussed an attack.

However, in a report entitled U.S. embassies in Muslim world reopen amid still-murky threats, McClatchy cites, “A high-ranking Yemeni security official speaking on the condition of anonymity,” who told the news outlet that the threat “had no basis in fact,” with the source bemusedly attributing “media reports about imminent terror strikes to a single official’s comments, which he cast as a misguided attempt at shifting public opinion in the face of increasing and unpopular American drone strikes.”

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