Tag Archive for Al-Qaeda

(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.

The Case of the Mysterious Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Guantanamo Bay Photos

Last month, nearly a dozen photos purporting to show alleged al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed posing serenely inside a detention facility at Guantanamo Bay were posted on a popular Jihadist forum. The photos depict what appears to be Mohammed sitting in a variety of poses in clothing similar to what is worn by detainees at the internment facilities in Guantanamo Bay. Two of the photos also depict other detainees being held at Guantanamo.

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.

U.S. Flying Drone Missions From Civilian Airport in Ethiopia

The Air Force has been secretly flying armed Reaper drones on counterterrorism missions from a remote civilian airport in southern Ethi­o­pia as part of a rapidly expanding U.S.-led proxy war against an al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, U.S. military officials said. The Air Force has invested millions of dollars to upgrade an airfield in Arba Minch, Ethi­o­pia, where it has built a small annex to house a fleet of drones that can be equipped with Hellfire missiles and satellite-guided bombs. The Reapers began flying missions earlier this year over neighboring Somalia, where the United States and its allies in the region have been targeting al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group connected to al-Qaeda.

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.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Potential Al-Qaeda Threat to New York City and Washington, DC During 9/11 Anniversary Period

We assess that al-Qa‘ida has likely maintained an interest since at least February 2010 in conducting large attacks in the Homeland timed to coincide with symbolic dates, to include the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We also remain concerned that the May 2011 death of Usama bin Ladin (UBL), coupled with the subsequent removal of several key al-Qa’ida figures, could further contribute to al-Qa’ida’s desire to stage an attack on a symbolic date—such as the 10-year anniversary of 9/11—as a way to avenge UBL’s death and reassert the group’s relevance, although operational readiness likely remains the primary driving factor behind the timing of al-Qa’ida attacks.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Al-Qaeda and the Threat to General Aviation

Al-Qa‘ida and its affiliates have maintained an interest in obtaining aviation training, particularly on small aircraft, and in recruiting Western individuals for training in Europe or the United States, although we do not have current, credible information or intelligence of an imminent attack being planned against aviation by al-Qa‘ida or its affiliates.

(U//FOUO) DHS-FBI Al-Qaeda Interest in Targeting Trains on September 11, 2011

As of February 2010, al-Qa‘ida was allegedly contemplating conducting an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States on the tenth anniversary of 11 September 2001. As one option, al-Qa‘ida was looking at the possibility of tipping a train by tampering with the rails so that the train would fall off the track at either a valley or a bridge. Al-Qa‘ida noted that an attack from tilting the train would only succeed one time because the tilting would be spotted. Al-Qa‘ida also noted that newer train cars each have their own braking system, and that movement in a specific direction would derail it, but would not cause it to fall off the track.

(U//FOUO) New York Office of Homeland Security “Crime-Terror Nexus” Report

As authorities have clamped down on traditional financing pipelines, such as charitable front groups, and as terrorist networks have grown increasingly decentralized, terrorists have turned to criminal activities to finance their operations locally. Throughout the world, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah operatives have involved themselves in an array of criminal enterprises, including counterfeiting, drug dealing, cigarette smuggling, credit card fraud, auto theft, kidnapping, extortion, and artifact trafficking. Although criminality is outlawed under Islamic law, the Al Qaeda manual advises that “necessity permits the forbidden.” Reflecting this theory, when Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operatives questioned whether hacking into foreigners’ bank accounts was acceptable in Islam, JI leader Abu Bakr Bashir reportedly responded, “[if] you can take their blood; then why not take their property?” “Terrorist groups are particularly interested in raising funds through crime because as Lieutenant Colonel David LaRivee, Associate Professor of Economics at the United States Air Force Academy, stated, “many of the agencies responsible for enforcement in these areas do not traditionally focus on counterterrorism nor do they have strong ties with counterterrorist agencies. This means that many indictable criminal activities that support terrorism are overlooked because they seem insignificant when evaluated locally, but are in fact very significant when considered from a broader perspective.” In order to disrupt these financing efforts, “local law enforcement officials will be key,” as the FBI assessed in a May 25, 2005 Intelligence Bulletin.

Open Source Center Blackwater Personnel Staying in Abbottabad Guesthouses January 2010

Mysterious guesthouses have been established in Abottabad’s famous residential area. It has been revealed that Blackwater officials are living there. Important persons regularly visit these guesthouses, and there are fears that the peace and stability in Abottabad may be affected. According to the details received, there are many guesthouses in Abottabad where immoral activities take place at night and meetings in the name of NGOs are arranged during the day. As soon as the night falls, suspicious persons start coming to these guesthouses.

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.

(U//FOUO) Maryland Fusion Center Implications of Death of Osama bin Laden

The Intelligence Community (IC) assesses the death of al-Qa’ida (AQ) leader Usama Bin Laden could result in retaliatory attacks in the Homeland and against U.S. and Western interests overseas. Attacks might originate with AQ 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 AQ Core plotting efforts in the Homeland, but the case of now-detained AQ operative Najibullah Zazi—who, along with two associates, planned to attack New York City subway in 2009 using homemade explosives— demonstrates that unidentified operatives could advance plotting in the Homeland.

Osama bin Laden’s Family Says They Don’t Believe He’s Dead

I Omar Ossama Binladin and my brothers the lawful children and heirs of the Ossama Binladin (OBL) have noted wide coverage of the news of the death of our father, but we are not convinced on the available evidence in the absence of dead body, photographs, and video evidence that our natural father is dead. Therefore, with this press statement, we seek such conclusive evidence to believe the stories published in relation to 2 May 2011 operation Geronimo as declared by the President of United States Barrack Hussein Obama in his speech that he authorized the said operation and killing of OBL and later confirmed his death.

Islamist Website Connected to Al-Qaeda Says New bin Laden Tape is Fake

An Islamist website has accused the United States of releasing a fake tape of an ageing Osama bin Laden watching images of himself on television, and posted a video on YouTube it says offers proof. Shoumoukh al-Islam, the main website that broadcasts Al-Qaeda videos, posted a video comparing an earlier picture of bin Laden and the aired picture. It said the video was a “response to the tape aired by Arab and foreign media on Osama bin Laden watching himself” on television.

Pakistani Officials Doubt bin Laden’s “Active Role” in Al-Qaeda

Pakistani security officials reacted with skepticism on Sunday to a U.S. assertion that Osama bin Laden was actively engaged in directing his far-flung network from his compound in Abbottabad where he was killed on May 2. Washington said on Saturday that, based on a trove of documents and computer equipment seized in the raid, bin Laden’s hideout north of Islamabad was an “active command and control center” for al Qaeda where he was involved in plotting future attacks on the United States. “It sounds ridiculous,” said a senior intelligence official. “It doesn’t sound like he was running a terror network.”

Photo of Passport for Osama bin Laden’s Wife Appears to Be Fake

A photo of Osama bin Laden’s wife’s passport that was released by Pakistani Television channel GEO TV appears to be fake in numerous respects. The finger pointing up to supposedly hold open the passport is surrounded by a number of angular white areas indicating that is was poorly cropped and taken from another photograph. The tip of the finger concludes in a notable point because of this poor cropping. Also, the photo of the women that is supposed to be bin Laden’s wife is noticeably an overlay from a separate photograph as it falls outside the margins of the space where the passport photo should be and is surrounded by a white “halo” that is visible over the colored background of the passport.

Al-Qaeda Statement on Death of Osama bin Laden

Al-Qaeda statement calls the day ” a historic day of the days of the great Islamic umma (nation) and in a noble stand of one of its great men and heroes across its blessed age and on the path taken by the will of all the mighty predecessors and those who will follow them, the Sheikh, the Mujahid & the Commander, the pious migrant fighter, Abu Abdullah Osama bin Muhammad bin Laden, may God have mercy on him was killed in a place where truth shines and where sincerity for good deeds and the call for truthfulness exist. Bin Laden was killed so he can follow the mighty caravan of the umma (the nation) with the great leaders, the loyal soldiers, and the honest knights who refused to abandon their faith for the mundane lives and to hand over the command to those who will be humiliate them and be humiliated and that’s why they confronted the weaponry with weaponry, force with force and accepted to challenge the arrogant masses that came out to fight with their killing machines, equipments, aircrafts and forces boastfully so they can be seen as men, and still this didn’t weaken their resolve and didn’t drain their strength, but instead he stood up for them face to face, a mighty mountain, a proud mountain and he was still in the midst of the battle that many got used to and his eyes were used to its sceneries but after that, he was yet to be excused and delivered his message and then he was shot bullets of betrayal and blasphemy delivering his soul to its maker while repeating: ‘Who sacrifice the blessed soul for his Lord to fight off the falsehood CANNOT ever be blamed’.”