New facts are dribbling out in reference to the intel driving the recent rash of Embassy closings. AP reported comments from three unnamed U.S. intelligence officials who said “the unspecified threat was discussed in an online forum joined by so many jihadist groups that it included a representative from Boko Haram, the Nigerian insurgency that has loose ties to al-Qaida. Two other intelligence officials characterized the threat as more of an alert to get ready to launch potential attacks than a discussion of specific targets.”
“One official said the threat began with a message from al-Wahishi, head of the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, to al-Zawahri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as the core al-Qaida leader. The message essentially sought out al-Zawahri’s blessing to launch attacks. Al-Zawahri, in turn, sent out a response that was shared on the secretive online jihadi forum.”
We still don’t know how U.S. intelligence picked up the threat which is likely highly sensitive information. AP also reported increased use of encryption by jihadists.
“Earlier this year, an al-Qaida-linked extremist propaganda organization known as the Global Islamic Media Front released an encrypted instant-messaging system known as “Asrar al-Dardashah,” or “Secrets of the Chat.” It was a texting version of the organization’s end-to-end encryption program that followers had been using for years. End-to-end encryption means messages are put into code so that only senders and receivers can access the content with secure “keys.”
“In a post on the Shumukh al-Islam online forum, a writer who identified himself as Sayyed al-Mawqif noted American news reports that said the terror threat possibly was intercepted though phone calls or surveillance of jihadist chat rooms or message boards.”
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