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by
Bryan Preston

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August 7, 2013 - 10:02 am

A conference call, during which al Qaeda’s top guy told underlings scattered hither and yon to “Do something,” according to Eli Lake.

Several news outlets reported Monday on an intercepted communication last week between Zawahiri and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al Qaeda’s affiliate based in Yemen. But The Daily Beast has learned that the discussion between the two al Qaeda leaders happened in a conference call that included the leaders or representatives of the top leadership of al Qaeda and its affiliates calling in from different locations, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence. All told, said one U.S. intelligence official, more than 20 al Qaeda operatives were on the call.

To be sure, the CIA had been tracking the threat posed by Wuhayshi for months. An earlier communication between Zawahiri and Wuhayshi delivered through a courier was picked up last month, according to three U.S. intelligence officials. But the conference call provided a new sense of urgency for the U.S. government, the sources said.

Al Qaeda members included representatives or leaders from Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and more obscure al Qaeda affiliates such as the Uzbekistan branch. Also on the call were representatives of aspiring al Qaeda affiliates such as al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula, according to a U.S. intelligence official. The presence of aspiring al Qaeda affiliates operating in the Sinai was one reason the State Department closed the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to one U.S. intelligence official. “These guys already proved they could hit Eilat. It’s not out of the range of possibilities that they could hit us in Tel Aviv,” the official said.

Lake points out that al Qaeda thought its conference calls were secure, but now that the Obama administration is disclosing that we’re listening in on them, the terrorists will stop using them. Ditto the courier that we’ve disclosed intercepting. So we’ve jeopardized a potential gold mine of intelligence.

The conference calls do point toward central al Qaeda control and management of its far-flung affiliates, which is something the Obama administration has insisted is not happening after Osama bin Laden’s demise. They’ll probably go on insisting that it’s not happening. They’ll insist that “core al Qaeda” is still on the run, despite the fact that its conference call caused the Obama administration to go on the run from embassies across about a quarter of the planet, more or less.

Long-time intel hands are looking at the closures and evacuations ordered departures as a “crazy pants” move. Disclosing the fact that the US had tapped into al Qaeda’s “Legion of Doom” conference call is just as crazy pants.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (6)
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Sounds like panic in the Situation Room.

But Obama is smart to close down all the embassies, and evacuate all the personnel, because attacks on open embassies, or more dead American diplomats, could re-open questions about Ben Ghazi.

Obama's just making sure the Ben Ghazi scandal stays "phony".
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Were Mustafa, Paddy O'Brien, Frau Farbissina, and Random Task in on that conference call, too?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Fantastic! We now know that Al Qaida is NOT dead or on the run but and is still sufficiently potent to do us harm. We close a bunch of embassies in the hope that they won't be hit and simply TELL Al Qaida that we were listening in, rather than exploiting our capabilities to do them harm.

Far from being impotent, we find ourselves running from Al Qaida AND lose a major opportunity to hurt them via our ability to listen to them at the highest levels. It's hard to picture things getting much worse. The whole lot of incompetent boobs that are running things in America, starting with Obama, needs to be fired and replaced by people who actually know what they're doing. Too bad the next elections are still so far away and the Republicans are so very BAD at opposing the party in power.....
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think we're running from them. We're blowing them up when we can find them.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oops. Please replace "Far from being impotent, we find ourselves running from Al Qaida" with "Far from proving that Al Qaidi is impotent, we find ourselves running from them".
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
So, there is this Christian musician who apologized, as an American, to Israel because of the words and actions of our idiot king...... maybe we need to start a trend, of apologizing to our friends, for the actions of our idiot king??
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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