New surge in Al Qaeda’s internal electronic and human traffic

debkafile‘s counter-terror sources register a volume and heightened sense of anticipation in al Qaeda’s internal communications, signals, publications and Websites – mostly in code – that recall its electronic traffic in the months leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The sense of a big anti-American event in the making for September-October is marked. Self-congratulatory accounts of the London and Sharm al Sheikh July bombings abound, along with extravagant claims of victories against American forces in Iraq.
For the first time since 2001, teams of new recruits are being shunted between countries, according to coded instructions passing around the internal sites.
Our sources interpret these instructions as indicating that al Qaeda was able to raise sufficient fresh operational strength in its recent recruitment drive to carry out strikes in several target arenas. According to the information reaching debkafile, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, for instance, proposed rotating the veteran operatives in Iraq, there for more than six to eight months, in favor of fresh men.
This surge of activity, electronic and human, seems to signpost an al Qaeda offensive in the works, and will no doubt raise terror threat levels in US, European and Middle East cities in the coming weeks.
Reading the signs, an FBI terrorism task force in Los Angeles issued a warning Wednesday, Aug 10: “Al Qaeda leaders plan to employ various types of fuel trucks as vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in an effort to cause mass casualties in the US prior to the 19th of September.” The attacks are planned specifically for New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, either simultaneously or spread out. The attackers are described in the FBI advisory as “members of small al Qaeda cells which are spread out through the US.”
This information is uncorroborated, said a Homeland Security Department spokesman, but continues to be evaluated by the intelligence community.
debkafile also learns of a general threat to America to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
In Turkey, an al Qaeda plot to pack Zodiac speedboats with explosives and ram five Israeli cruise ships with more than 4,000 tourists aboard when they were docked last weekend at the Mediterranean port of Alanya. Had they succeeded, the catastrophe would have been on the mega scale. The terror alert is still in force in parts of Turkey because out of two large suicide teams, only two terrorists have been caught with large quantities of explosives. Each of those teams is believed to number 5-8 suicide killers, and most are still at large.
There is also information about similar al Qaeda teams on the loose in London, Rome, Cairo, Damascus, Amman, Riyadh and Sinai, as well as Turkey – but nothing specific on American cities. The London transport bombings and the 2003 Madrid rail attacks have however taught security agencies to be prepared at all times for the unexpected.
In any event, the quality of intelligence regarded al Qaeda in the hands of anti-terror agencies in the West has clearly not improved much since 9/11. Therefore, internal electronic traffic must be treated as a serious guide to the Islamic organization’s intentions. Above all, its tone and volume must be carefully evaluated by experts, because much of its content is coded and inaccessible to outsiders.

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