About a month ago, I wrote a PJM article forecasting that al-Qaeda would use the classified State Department cables leaked to Julian Assange and Wikileaks, and I lamented the fact that, while al-Qaeda would use this information against us, our own counterterrorism officials are prohibited from accessing the same information in order to conduct a damage assessment. The article concluded saying:
While it is reprehensible that these cables have been leaked, it is equally true that this particular genie cannot be put back into the bottle. If our counterterrorism officials are the only ones left in the dark, they will be put at a dangerous disadvantage vis-a-vis al-Qaeda and its associates, and our country will be less safe as a result.
Al-Qaeda’s use of this material has now become fact.
On page 45 in the fourth issue of Inspire magazine — al Qaeda’s “official” magazine — in a section titled “Advice for Those Who Want to Help Al Malahem Media,” al-Qaeda advises Muslims who want to assist it to send “anything useful from Wikileaks.”
For those who might discount the usefulness of this request based on a belief that jihadi wannabes cannot get such information to al-Qaeda, you’d be wrong.
Unfortunately, since the first issue of Inspire magazine, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has provided an encryption key that enables Muslim fellow-travelers to securely send data to it. Encryption experts say that the system, if used as AQAP recommends, is operationally secure.
The story, however, does not stop with al-Qaeda’s active solicitation of Wikileaks material. On February 14, 2011, in a 6-minute video titled “A Message to the Members of the Media,” al-Qaeda commander Anwar al-Awlaki used Wikileaks in his propaganda narrative.