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Mar 7th, 2010

U.S.-Born al-Qaida Spokesman Caught

Adam Gadahn, 31, reportedly held in Pakistan

Adam Yahiye Gadahn
Al-Qaida spokesman Adam Yahiye Gadahn

NBC News and The Associated Press via
March 7, 2010

KARACHI, Pakistan — Adam Yahiye Gadahn, a U.S.-born spokesman for al-Qaida, has been captured in Pakistan, government sources said Sunday.

Gadahn was arrested in recent days, two officers who took part in the operation told The Associated Press. A senior government official also confirmed the arrest. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

An intelligence source confirmed the report to NBC News, adding that Gadahn was detained in Sohrab Goth, a suburb of Karachi, and was later moved to the capital Islamabad.

The arrest is a major victory in the U.S.-led battle against al-Qaida and will be taken as a sign that Pakistan is cooperating more fully with Washington. It follows the recent detentions of several Afghan Taliban commanders in Karachi.

Gadahn moved to Pakistan in 1998, according to the FBI, and is said to have attended an al-Qaida training camp six years later, serving as a translator and consultant for the group.

A U.S. court charged Gadahn with treason in 2006, making him the first American to face such a charge in more than 50 years. He could face the death penalty if convicted. He was also charged with two counts of providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. …

Gadahn was last known to be in Southern California in 1997 or 1998. His mother says she last spoke to him by phone in March 2001. At the time he was in Pakistan, working at a newspaper, and his wife was expecting a child. …

Al-Qaida has used Gadahn as its chief English-speaking spokesman, and he has called for the destruction of the West and for strikes against targets in the United States. In one video, he ceremoniously tore up his American passport. In another, he admitted his grandfather was Jewish, ridiculing him for his beliefs and calling for Palestinians to continue fighting Israel.

The last person in the U.S. convicted of treason was Tomoya Kawakita, a Japanese American sentenced to death in 1952 for tormenting American prisoners of war during World War II. President Eisenhower later commuted his sentence to life imprisonment. …


3/8/10 Update

American al-Qaida Suspect is Not Spokesman

March 8, 2010

KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistani officials have reversed course on a recently captured American suspected of being a member of al-Qaida, saying the man is not the terror network’s U.S.-born spokesman, as they initially believed.

The man arrested in the southern city of Karachi was first identified as al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn, the most wanted American in the terrorist network. But authorities said Monday it was a case of mistaken identity and that they have a different American in custody.

Pakistani intelligence officials instead identified him as Abu Yahya Majadin Adam, a name similar to one listed on the FBI’s Web site as an alias for Gadahn, the 31-year-old man who has appeared in several al-Qaida videos threatening the West since 2001. …


Earlier report

US-Born al-Qaeda Honcho: Ft. Hood Attack a 'Model'
Adam Gadahn (Image not part of AP report)

Al-Qaida Calls on U.S. Muslims to Attack America

By Patrick Quinn

March 7, 2010

CAIRO — Al-Qaida’s American-born spokesman on Sunday called on Muslims serving in the U.S. armed forces to emulate the Army major charged with killing 13 people in Fort Hood.

In a 25-minute video posted on militant Web sites, Adam Gadahn described Maj. Nidal Hasan as a pioneer who should serve as a role model for other Muslims, especially those serving Western militaries.

“Brother Nidal is the ideal role-model for every repentant Muslim in the armies of the unbelievers and apostate regimes,” he said.

Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, was dressed in white robes and wearing a white turban as he called for attacks on what he described as “high-value targets.”

Gadahn grew up on a goat farm in Riverside County, California, and converted to Islam at a mosque in nearby Orange County.

“You shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that military bases are the only high-value targets in America and the West. On the contrary, there are countless other strategic places, institutions and installations which, by striking, the Muslim can do major damage,” he said, an assault rifle leaning up against a wall next to him.

Gadahn has been wanted by the FBI since 2004 and two years later was charged with treason. There is a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

He has in the past posted videos and messages calling for the destruction of the West and for strikes against targets in the United States. His location is unknown, but he is believed to be somewhere along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Hasan has been charged in the Nov. 5 shooting that killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. The 39-year-old Army psychiatrist remains paralyzed from the chest down after being shot by two civilian members of Fort Hood’s police force.

“Nidal Hasan is a pioneer, a trailblazer and a role-model who has opened a door, lit a path and shown the way forward for every Muslim who finds himself among the unbelievers,” Gadahn said.

In the latest video, Gadahn said those planning attacks did not need to use only firearms like Hasan, but could use other weapons. “As the blessed operations of September 11th showed, a little imagination and planning and a limited budget can turn almost anything into a deadly, effective and convenient weapon.”

Gadahn said fighters should target mass transportation systems in the West and also wreak havoc “by killing or capturing people in government, industry and the media.”

He recommended finding ways to shake “consumer confidence and stifle spending” and noted that even unsuccessful attacks, such as the failed attempt to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, can bring major cities to a halt.

“I am calling on every honest and vigilant Muslim in the countries of the Zionist-Crusader alliance in general and America, Britain and Israel in particular to prepare to play his due role in responding to and repelling the aggression of the enemies of Islam,” Gadahn said.


Related reports on this site

Christmas Terrorism Alert (Dec. 25, 2009)

Heartbreak at Ft. Hood (Nov. 5, 2009)

Tom Ridge Terror Threat Claim (Aug. 21, 2009)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — March 7, 2009

Photo credit: AP / Charles Dharapak
Upon assuming the presidency, Barack Obama said ending the war in Iraq would require a new definition of victory, but experts said ending the war might not mean a peace dividend for the ballooning U.S. defense budget. (Photo credit: AP / Charles Dharapak)

Iraq Exit Will Be Long and Hard

One-year retrospective: One year ago today, I reported that with the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq in sight, the cost of leaving had begun to be measured in financial, logistical, and — above all — political terms, with the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq estimated to cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

One Response to “U.S. al-Qaida Mouthpiece Captured”
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