I-Team Report: Al-Qaida's Ultimate Weapon

October 26, 2010 10:00:00 PM PDT
The American public has been hearing the chorus of warnings from law enforcement for nine years ever since 9/11. It's not a matter of if terrorists will strike, it's a matter of when. The next question then is how?

The I-Team examined a chilling prospect put forth by al-Qaida itself. And Chicago is in the picture.

In a new al-Qaida magazine called "Inspire" on page 51 is the picture of the familiar, 100-story John Hancock building, one of the tallest towers in America -- the backdrop for an a story called "Open Source Jihad," which means holy war. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE MAGAZINE

"We do believe al-Qaida is behind the magazine, that it's getting supported by al-Qaida," said Special Agent Bill Monroe, FBI Counter-Terrorism Unit.

There is a picture of a pick-up trip - "the ultimate mowing machine" and the ultimate weapon that al-Qaida is suggesting its followers start using to wage "personal jihad" against America. Using a pickup truck "as a mowing machine...not to mow grass, but mow down (people) the enemies of Allah."

"It is harder to stop, because it's easier to do," said Tom Mockaitis, DePaul University history professor and terrorism expert.

Mockaitis calls it "an urban tank."

"You don't have to have sophisticated bomb making technology, you don't have to assemble pieces and the risk getting caught in the preparation phase is significantly reduced," said Mockaitis.

The article instructs al-Qaida followers to "weld on steel blades" to the front of the truck; drive to "the most crowded location....pick up as much speed as you can...and strike as many people as possible in your first run."

At FBI headquarters in Chicago, Special Agent Bill Monroe oversees the counter-terrorism unit.

"We're certainly worried about any of the articles featured in Inspire magazine, especially all of those articles that are promoting violence," said Monroe.

The online magazine, produced in Yemen, is aimed at recruiting Jihadis in the U.S. and encourages "good Muslims" to launch attacks in the U.S. It encourages attackers to bring along a gun to "finish off" victims in case the truck is grounded and "keep on fighting until you achieve martyrdom."

"Although we're concerned that the photograph of the Chicago skyline is in there, we do want to keep that in context and compare that to intelligence that we have right now...and right now we don't have any intelligence or information that would indicate that Chicago is a target of attack," said Monroe.

The "ultimate weapon" isn't the Chicago reference in the 74-page magazine. There is a prayer list calling for the release of Muslim prisoners, including Shaker Masri, a Streeterville resident who was arrested by federal authorities in August. Twenty-six-year old Masri was allegedly recruited to become a suicide bomber and was heard on an undercover tape talking about blowing up a busload of U.S. Soldiers. The magazine is aimed at inspiring that kind of behavior.

"What they would like to do is to persuade as many Muslims as possible to take up the cause, become a Jihadi, maybe even go on a Martyrdom mission, and not even necessarily wait for directions," said Mockaitis.

The possibility of one-man martyrdom is precisely what makes this threat so menacing. One person with keys to a pick-up truck, acting on al-Qaida's urging, probably wouldn't show up on law enforcement radar.


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