Tag Archive for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

(U//FOUO) Open Source Center Al-Qaeda Master Narratives Report

This report is focused on helping US communicators and analysts better identify opportunities to undermine AQ messaging. With this in mind, the report analyzes how AQ portrays itself and its objectives to the public through statements and multimedia releases – the messaging used to attract recruits, build public sympathy, and undermine adversaries such as the United States. Research for this analysis included AQ messaging dating back to 2000, with particular attention paid to recent messaging from 2009-2011. In addition to primary sources and open source research, interviews with 25 SMEs were used to surface master narratives, test hypotheses, and validate assertions. These SMEs were asked a combination of expansive, open-ended questions designed to surface new hypotheses as well as targeted questions designed to verify assertions. Combining these interviews with open source research, this report highlights how each master narrative reflects perceived history, themes, and objectives that are central to AQ’s public identity. Each of these master narratives appear with varied frequency across AQ messaging and propaganda, and collectively they represent a unified narrative system used by AQ and affiliate communicators.

Homeland Security Warns of Terrorist Wildfire Attacks

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and fusion centers around the country are warning that terrorists are interested in using fire as a weapon, particularly in the form of large-scale wildfires near densely populated areas. A newly released DHS report states that for more than a decade “international terrorist groups and associated individuals have expressed interest in using fire as a tactic against the Homeland to cause economic loss, fear, resource depletion, and humanitarian hardship.” The report notes that the tactical use of fire as a weapon is “inexpensive and requires limited technical expertise” and “materials needed to use fire as a weapon are common and easily obtainable, making preoperational activities difficult to detect and plot disruption and apprehension challenging for law enforcement.”

Samir Khan Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “Expectations Full” Jihadi Manual

A document entitled “Full Expectations” was reportedly authored by Samir Khan, a U.S. citizen who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen last year along with Anwar al-Awlaki. The document details what potential Jihadis should expect and bears a great deal of similarity to Inspire magazine, which was also reportedly authored by Khan. After several new issues of Inspire magazine surfaced online in early May, the following document has also recently appeared online with an acknowledgement of the death of Samir Khan.

Secret DoJ Memo Authorized Killing of Anwar al-Awlaki

The Justice Department wrote a secret memorandum authorizing the lethal targeting of Anwar al-Aulaqi, the American-born radical cleric who was killed by a U.S. drone strike Friday, according to administration officials. The document was produced following a review of the legal issues raised by striking a U.S. citizen and involved senior lawyers from across the administration. There was no dissent about the legality of killing Aulaqi, the officials said. “What constitutes due process in this case is a due process in war,” said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss closely held deliberations within the administration. The administration has faced a legal challenge and public criticism for targeting Aulaqi, who was born in New Mexico, because of constitutional protections afforded U.S. citizens. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve, at least internally, a legal debate over whether a president can order the killing of U.S. citizens overseas as a counterterrorism measure.

Inspire Magazine Email and Encryption Key Comparison

One of the more interesting aspects of Inspire magazine is its use of a public key encryption system for communication based upon a program called Asrar al-Mujahideen. The fundamentals of using this program are explained in the first issue of Inspire magazine. Throughout the first six issues of the magazine the same four email addresses are listed alongside a public key for use with the Asrar al-Mujahideen program. In the September 2011 issue there is a different public key listed, though the email addresses remain the same. All four email addresses used are associated with free email providers located in the United States. All of the providers log IP information for users of their services and the suggested program used for encryption does not take any steps to hide the sender’s identifying information.

Media Perpetuates Myths About “Virus Attack” on Inspire Magazine

A recent article by the Washington Post is helping to spread the mistaken belief that Inspire magazine’s first issue was attacked by a virus which corrupted most of its content. The article states that while U.S. sources debated how to sabotage or otherwise “attack” the publication of the magazine, which is said to be produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group of British “cyber warriors” took action. The article states that “when Inspire launched on June 30, the magazine’s cover may have promised an ‘exclusive interview’ with Sheik Abu Basir al-Wahishi, a former aide to Osama bin Laden, and instructions on how to ‘Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.’ But pages 4 through 67 of the otherwise slick magazine, including the bomb-making instructions, were garbled as a result of the British cyber-attack.” The article also states that it took almost two weeks for a corrected and complete version of the magazine to emerge.

New Details on Anwar al-Awlaki’s 2002 Luncheon at the Pentagon

With the recent death of Usama bin Laden, the life of another Al Qaeda-linked radical Muslim cleric is taking on greater significance, and documents obtained exclusively by Fox News and its Specials Unit shed new light on his stint as a guest speaker at the Pentagon just months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the first American on the CIA’s kill or capture list, is still considered a grave threat to U.S. national security. He now is hiding out in Yemen, where earlier this month a U.S. missile attack tried to kill him and his followers. The scene was much different on February 5, 2002, when the radical imam was invited to and attended the Pentagon event.

DoD Email Discussing Anwar al-Awlaki’s 2002 Presentation at the Pentagon

Anwar Awlaki is the Imam at Dar Al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Va, which is one of the largest Islamic Centers in the United States. He is currently working on his PhD in Human Resource Development at George Washington University, received a Master of Education Leadership from San Diego state University and his BS in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University. He completed Islamic Studies in Yemen. He has been doing extensive public speaking on the above topics, especially since the events on September 11. Mr. Nihad Awad, President of the Counsel of American-Islamic Relations has also expressed interest in attending. Mr. Amr Moussa, the Secretary General of the Arab League, will be in D.C. on February 4th and 5th, although I don’t think that our luncheon will have the clout to get his attendance!

(U//FOUO) DHS Possible Implications of the Death of Osama bin Laden

The Intelligence Community (IC) assesses the death of al-Qa‘ida leader Usama Bin Ladin could result in retaliatory attacks in the Homeland and against US and Western interests overseas. Attacks might originate with al-Qa‘ida Core elements in the tribal areas of Pakistan, with one of their affiliates overseas, and/or with individuals in the homeland sympathetic to the cause but lacking a formal group association. We have no indications of advanced al-Qa‘ida Core plotting efforts in the Homeland, but the case of now-detained al-Qa‘ida operative Najibullah Zazi—who, along with two associates, planned to attack the New York City subway in 2009 using homemade explosives—demonstrates that unidentified operatives could advance plotting in the homeland.

Examples of Security Research Aided by Public Intelligence

Coverage in the Netherlands of a recent request by the Dutch police to remove issues of Inspire magazine from this website has often misrepresented our position, referring to this site as an “al-Qaeda website”, while failing to explain the nature of what this website does. Articles about the request have even been accompanied by gratuitous photos of Osama Bin-Laden. The fact that our publication of Inspire magazine is not supportive or promotional, but done for “educational and informational purposes” seems to have been missed by many Dutch readers. This is despite the fact that we have included uncharacteristic disclaimers stating this fact on every page where we have made Inspire magazine available. To any regular reader of this site it should be painfully obvious that we are not supporting, condoning or encouraging the activities contained in the magazine, or any other material we publish.

Dutch Police Threaten to Shut Down Public Intelligence

The National Crime Squad (DNR, Dienst Nationale Recherche) of the Dutch National Police (KLPD; Korps landelijke politiediensten) has threatened to shut down Public Intelligence if we do not remove the issues of Inspire magazine which are made available on this site. In a request made to our hosting provider in late February, the Dutch National Crime Squad demanded that we remove all issues of Inspire magazine from our website and refrain from distributing any further issues of the publication. The notice describes the magazine’s content as “illegal” under Dutch law: “Due to the content of this magazine which is considered illegal according to the Dutch law due to the inciting content related to Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, we would like you to remove this magazine from your website.” The notice goes on to state that if the content is not removed from this site, the Dutch police “will under the force of circumstances take down your website on the dedicated server in the Netherlands according to Dutch Law.”

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Claims Responsibility for 49 Attacks in 2010

Al-Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for implementing 49 attacks against Yemeni forces and foreign targets during the second half of the 2010. In a statement posted on the internet, it said that they carried out attacks on Yemeni forces, checkpoints, camps, and military vehicles which resulted in killing and wounding many soldiers and officers in security, military, and intelligence apparatus. It added that they carried out at least 13 military operations targeting security officers and leaders in five provinces, six of them in Abyan, killing at least five security officers, the last being the attack on Ahmed Al-Mesary, the Governor of Abyan and his bodyguards, which killed eight troops and officers, including his brother.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI “Inspire” Al-Qaeda Magazine Second Edition Warning

(U//FOUO) This product is intended to provide perspective and understanding of the nature and scope of potentially emergent threats in response to the posting of the second edition of Inspire magazine. It is also intended to assist federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies and authorities, the private sector, and other entities to develop priorities for protective and support measures relating to an existing or emerging threat to the homeland security.

Does Anyone Take These Al-Qaeda Magazines Seriously?

With the release of their November 2010 Special Issue of Inspire magazine, a group claiming to be Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has again succeeded in getting the entire global news media to uncritically relate their message. Every few months since the first release of the magazine in July 2010, the public is now subjected to a mass of uncritical stories that propagate predefined talking-points which are taken almost verbatim from one of two “monitoring groups” which actually profit from the sale of terrorist propaganda materials. One of those groups, the SITE Intelligence Group, was founded by the daughter of an executed Israeli spy. Joel Meares of The Columbia Journalism Review writes that when “Reading the latest terror reports it seems that any questions about the validity of Inspire have disappeared. The magazine once greeted with skepticism and perspective—to what extent one publication can speak for as disparate and fractured a community as the jihadists is always a question—is now being treated as the unquestioned and official spokes-journal of Al-Qaeda. And some close watchers of Al-Qaeda caution against the approach.”

Inspire Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Magazine November 2010 Special Issue

The following is the third issue of “Inspire” magazine reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media organization Al-Malahem. As with the previous two issues, the first of which began with as a cupcake recipe book, the authenticity of this document should be deeply scrutinized. This material is provided, as always, for educational and informational purposes.

Yemenis Have Never Heard of Anwar Al-Awlaki and Claim Al-Qaeda is a Myth

Americans may regard the U.S.-born cleric with the beard and hard stare as a new face of terror, but when you mention Awlaki in the Yemeni capital, it’s as if you’ve asked someone to solve a complicated bit of arithmetic. Eyes narrow, faces scrunch. “I don’t know who he is. I work all day and don’t watch a lot of TV,” said Ibrahim Abdulrab, standing over an ironing board with a pile of shirts at his feet. The radical preacher is on the CIA’s assassination list and is believed to be hiding with Al Qaeda fighters in Yemen’s mountainous tribal lands. He is implicated in a number of plots, including inspiring an Army psychiatrist who is charged with killing 13 people at Ft. Hood, Texas, and the recent attempt to blow up aircraft with packages of concealed explosives.

(U//FOUO) DHS Snapshot: Yemen Explosive Packages on Cargo Aircraft

(U) As of 29 October, packages on cargo aircraft containing explosive materials were intercepted in the United Kingdom (UK) and Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The packages were shipped from Yemen, with the United States listed as the final destination. On the evening of 28 October,security officials at East Midlands Airport in Lockington, UK identified a suspicious package containing a modified printer-toner cartridge that was later confirmed to contain explosives.

Yemeni Officials Say Suspicious Packages Were Not Shipped From Yemen

Yemeni officials insisted security at their airport is up to international standards and disputed claims the explosives originated in Yemen. “There is no proof that the package came through the airport and I confirm that the package was not from Yemen,” Fiaz Gazali, a senior security official at Sana’a airport told the Observer. “UPS or FedEx has not landed a single plane in our airports for a long time.” However, Scotland Yard sources confirmed the package removed from the plane at East Midlands airport originated from Yemen. The package was in a container transported from Yemen to Cologne, Germany, which was then transferred to the flight that stopped at East Midlands on the way to Chicago.