The militant Islamist terror organization Al Qaeda has decided to become an Internet publisher.
The group’s public relations department, As-Sahab Foundation, released a promotional video over the weekend announcing the launch of a new English-language jihadist publication called Resurgence. The polished, high-quality video uses an edited version of a 1965 speech delivered by African-American activist Malcolm X alongside videos and photos of American combat operations in the Middle East.
Also present in the video is ABC News footage of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing
, which may have been inspired by a similar English-language Internet magazine called Inspire. According to court documents, bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that he and his brother Tamerlan learned how to build improvised explosive devices from pressure cookers based on an article in Inspire
. A copy of the magazine was found on Tsarnaev’s computer
, according to a grand jury indictment.
A 2010 issue of Inspire contained an article, “How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” that detailed how to build a makeshift bomb using everyday household objects including pressure cookers. Authorities investigating the Boston Marathon bombing last year found parts from pressure cookers, suggesting their use in the attack; at least one pressure cooker bomb was reportedly used during a police pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers several days later.
Last May, Inspire — published and distributed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a satellite branch of the main terror network — celebrated its presumed connection with the marathon bombings by distributing a special 40-page edition of the digital magazine.
The main terror network is apparently pleased with the connection as well: Resurgence will be the first digital magazine distributed by the core group. While it’s not known what content will be in the magazine, experts are already saying the publication will almost certainly target readers in the United States with the goal of inciting domestic attacks.
“The idea of using a Malcolm X video, of the Boston Marathon bombings, really suggest they’re targeting a domestic, U.S. audience and not just others that are seeking radicalization around the world,” John Miller, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence, told CBS News on Tuesday. “This is a step in a direction that seems to have much more to do with marketing than religion.”
Al Qaeda appears confident it will find an audience in the United States for its magazine. Federal law enforcement agents will no doubt be among the magazine’s first subscribers. For the past several years, police have apparently monitored those who download and distribute Al Qaeda material. During an event last May, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom warned students at Wichita State University not to visit web forums where Al Qaeda propaganda is distributed.
“Do not go to this website,” Grissom said according to the Associated Press. “You will be on our list.”
Several months later, Grissom announced that authorities had foiled a car bomb plot targeting a Kansas airport. Terry Lee Loewen, 58, was arrested by federal law enforcement agents in connection with the plot.
According to Grissom, Loewen admitted to undercover FBI agents that he wanted to carry out “violent jihad” in the United States, a desire likely shaped by his interest in terrorist propaganda. Loewen allegedly told investigators that he’d downloaded thousands of documents about jihad, and in one online conversation he purportedly told an agent: “Hey I read Inspire magazine; I believe in staying informed.”