Monday, 5 August 2013

Sitrep: USA - Al-qaeda message intercepted

Over the past several days, the various U.S. embassies including French, British and German embassies have closed amid security concerns in North Africa, Middle East and Greater Middle East. The diplomatic installations were closed in consideration of an intercepted al-Qaeda message. The decision to close the embassies also took into account the growing threats emerging in Yemen, the near-end of Ramadan and concern over various prison breaks across the region. On Aug 3, India's consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan was a victim of an attack, killing 9 civilians.


  1. You don't think this has anything to do with attempting to justify NSA, CIA, FBI snooping?

    Given when you know a threat emerges, and have made public that there is one (Al-Qaeda knows it has been intercepted), that they might give details about what the threat was?

    1. I don't think so, no. There is an obsessive nature in the American security apparatus in monitoring communications. It goes back to World War II where the United States intercepted Japanese naval codes and prevented Midway from falling. The sheer advantage that monitoring communications is a real game-changer. So too in Cold War.

      The United States is fighting an enemy which is a new type of enemy and ever since the dependence on electronic communication and how security culture in the U.S operates, there is a huge emphasis on understanding and having the capability to seize any bit of data at will. An enemy which is really a needle in a haystack given the amount of data that is transferred at any given time.

      But there's been other instances, even before Snowden and PRISM controversy, of the United States intercepting al-Qaeda communications. Many didn't batter an eye-lid at these events but many didn't know that in order to intercept such communications, the entire haystack need be analysed.

      But given the surge of violence attributed to both al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, it is understandable that chatter between core, high-ranking members of these franchises have been at a very high level and messages of detrimental to national security will get intercepted.

      The threat, as speculation goes, are the diplomatic buildings were targeted, diplomatic envoys and American persons of interest. But that isn't limited to the Middle East and North Africa. A big, "spectacular" attack by al-Qaeda has been in the pipeline and desired for a while so it wouldn't be coincidental in my opinion. But I'm sure policy-makers will use this an example to justify such programmes, not necessarily an attempt.

  2. Though surely there is no situational advantage lost in informing the public about the details of the threat, given that Al-Qaeda know that the US knows. There is no plausible reason for them not to know, given the element of surprise in the potential attack has already been lost.