Homeland Security

Al-Qaeda Bomb Instructions are a Free Download at Barnes & Noble

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Key propaganda texts from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are posted for free download on the Barnes & Noble website, including the inaugural issue of a magazine linked to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Reviews posted on the e-books indicate that they’ve remained on the bookseller’s website for years, despite clearly indicating in the titles that al-Qaeda materials are being offered.

There are two listings for “Al-Malahem Media Foundation presents A Special Gift to the Islamic Nation The first Magazine issued by al-Qaida in the English language.” That refers to the 2010 debut of AQAP’s English-language Inspire magazine; the site notes that the free Nook book is “digitized from 2010 volume.”

(Barnes & Noble website screenshot)

The first issue of Inspire includes the infamous “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” article from “The AQ Chef” that sparked the trend of publishing detailed, open-source instructions to jihadists on constructing explosive devices. “We are conveying to you our military training right into your kitchen to relieve you of the difficulty of traveling to us,” states the article. “…In one or two days the bomb could be ready to kill at least ten people. In a month you may make a bigger and more lethal bomb that could kill tens of people.”

The step-by-step picture instructions walk would-be jihadists through constructing an explosive device with ingredients including matchstick heads and sugar, details how to fill it with projectile shrapnel, and shows how to wire it up with a timer.

Using a pressure cooker instead of a pipe “is the most effective method,” al-Qaeda advises.

During the trial of Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who along with his brother used pressure-cooker bombs, an FBI agent testified that three copies of Inspire magazine were found on the bomber’s laptop — including the “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” issue.

The 65-page magazine also includes articles on what to expect in jihad — “having a friend makes a difference” — and a message from deceased American al-Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki to Muslims in his home country.

The Inspire issue appears to have been a free download on the bookseller’s site for some time. One Barnes & Noble posting for the e-book included a review from nearly three and a half years ago, while the other product posting includes two reviews that are about six years old. One of the two postings lists the Al-Malahem Media Foundation, AQAP’s media arm, as the author.

The other Al-Malahem offering on the Barnes & Noble site is “An English Translation of Al-Malahem Media’s Audio Release And If You Must … by the Mujahid Sheikh Ibrahim al-Rubaish May Allah Protect Him.”

(Barnes & Noble website screenshot)

Al-Rubaish was a Saudi senior leader of AQAP, and frequent contributor to Inspire, who according to the terror group was killed in a 2015 drone strike. His essay is a call to jihad, telling Muslims to “be careful of not letting your desires, such as your love of wealth, children, and homeland prevent you from Jihad in Allah’s Cause.”

“There is no greater sin, after disbelief, than preventing people from making Jihad against the infidels, surrendering the sanctities of the Muslims to them because of some Muslim’s sinfulness which others will not be asked about,” he added.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press allows self-publishing authors to upload e-books for sale, to be downloaded on the book chain’s compatible e-reader devices and apps. PJM viewed the AQAP materials after downloading into a desktop Nook app.

UPDATE 1/18/18: Shortly after this story’s publication, Barnes & Noble appears to have removed the content from their website.