Despite official statistics showing a decrease in the number of arrests related to Salafist-jihadist activity, EU-based security services have thwarted numerous IED-centered plots since 2003. Many of the EU plots involve al Qaeda-networked terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and included plots in Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the United Kingdom (UK). Two recent plots are representative of the current IED threat in the EU: the Sauerland plot in Germany (2007) and the Barcelona plot in Spain (2008).
(U//LES) FBI Suicide Vest and Belt Use in Middle East, Africa, and Europe Show Minimal Signs of Tactic Migration
The FBI Terrorism Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) assesses the tactics used to construct suicide vest and belt improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the Middle Eastern, African, and European regions likely have minimal correlation. Use of these tactics allows suicide bombers to discretely move to a desired target location and make real-time decisions to maximize lethality. The suicide belt design allows the wearer to conceal the device and blend in with their surrounding environment, as well as to position themselves in potentially crowded environments while not raising suspicion.
Since 2013, the country has experienced several waves of Libyan returnees, which also formed the backbone of the newly established ISIL in Libya. In addition, the country continues to attract foreign terrorist fighters in significant numbers from North Africa. While currently concentrated in its stronghold in Sirte, ISIL could seek local alliances to expand its territorial control, also entailing the risk of motivating additional foreign terrorist fighters to join the group in Libya.
The eleventh issue of “Inspire” magazine reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media organization Al-Malahem, released June 1, 2013.
The tenth issue of “Inspire” magazine reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media organization Al-Malahem.
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.
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.
The following photos appear to depict Khalid Sheik Mohammed and two other detainees held in the internment facility at Guantanamo Bay. The photos were posted to a Jihadist forum in late May, leading to speculation as to how they were…
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.
The eighth and ninth issues of Inspire magazine reportedly created by Al-Malahem Media Foundation, the media arm of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Issue eight is from September 2011 but was only recently released online. Issue nine is from April 2012.
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.
The seventh issue of “Inspire” magazine reportedly produced by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s media organization Al-Malahem.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Several videos reportedly taken from the compound of Osama bin Laden as released by the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency.
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’.”
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.
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.
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.”