The White House's top counter-terrorism adviser learned in October that al Qaeda operatives had researched -- and attempted -- attacks using the same underwear bombing technique employed aboard Flight 253 on Christmas Day, Newsweek reported on Saturday.

According to reports, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan received the briefing from his counterpart in Saudi Arabia, who survived an assassination by al Qaeda attackers from Yemen. Reports Newsweek:

"The briefing to Brennan was delivered at the White House by Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s chief counter-terrorism official. In late August, Nayef had survived an assassination attempt by an operative dispatched by the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda who was pretending to turn himself in. The operative had tried to kill the Saudi prince by detonating a bomb disguised in his underwear, but stumbled on his way into the prince's palace and blew himself up.

U.S. officials now suspect that the attempted assassin of Nayef and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian suspect aboard the Northwest flight, had the same bombmaker in Yemen,  intelligence experts tell Newsweek. At the briefing for Brennan, Nayef was concerned because “he didn’t think [U.S. officials] were paying enough attention” to the growing threat from Al Qaeda in Yemen, said a former U.S. intelligence official familiar with the briefing."

Interestingly enough, Brennan will canvass the Sunday talk shows this weekend. He is sure to face countless questions about the Obama administration's pre-attack intelligence gathering -- a process the president himself has described as a "systemic failure."