The PJ Tatler

Intel Community Didn't Stop Boston Bombing, but It Did Disrupt Al Qaeda's Magazine. So, Yay Us, Right?

Question: Who in the intel community will be prosecuted for leaking this?

Answer: It makes the Obama government look good and it may distract from other scandals and leaks, so, no one.

U.S. intelligence operatives covertly sabotaged a prominent al-Qaeda online magazine last month in an apparent attempt to sow confusion among the group’s followers, according to officials.

The operation succeeded, at least temporarily, in thwarting publication of the latest issue of Inspire, the English-language magazine distributed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. When it appeared online, the text on the second page was garbled and the following 20 pages were blank. The sabotaged version was quickly removed from the online forum that hosted it, according to independent analysts who track jihadi Web sites.

Cool. But only mildly cool.

“You can make it hard for them to distribute it. Or you can mess with the content. And you can mess with the content in a way that is obvious, or in ways that are not obvious,” said one intelligence official, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal debates.

So we hit them with a crappy hack that looked obvious rather than, say, something more subtle and subversive to crack al Qaeda’s morale. Kind of amateurish. Compared to how subversively the Obama government has handled the Ft. Hood terrorist attack, anyway.