I-Team: New al Qaeda playbook promotes chemical attack

April 12, 2012 8:59:51 AM PDT
As we head into the busiest air travel season, radical Islamists are plotting a new threat to the nation's aviation according to records and videos in a newly produced al Qaeda playbook.

Al Qaeda Airlines is the name of the terror organization's latest playbook, a chilling reminder of September 11, 2001 when skyjackers commandeered United and American jets and flew them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the ground in Pennsylvania.

Those terrorists used box cutters. Al Qaeda's new plot, counts on chemicals.

A video offers explicit instructions to would-be jihadists on how to conjure up chloroform, a chemical solvent that can be used as a knock-out drug.

The chloroform recipe is demonstrated in five online videos that supplement this new magazine produced by The Global Islamic Front of Jihad and Jews and Crusaders.

The cover of the first issue headlined "al Qaeda Airlines" features an ominous-looking photo of a jetliner flying into the sunset.

Among the 73 pages that follow are details of the chloroform-making process and how to administer it to an unsuspecting victim, the implication being that al Qaeda operatives would do this to the crew and passengers of a jetliner.

DePaul University terrorism expert Barry Kellman says he is surprised that al Qaeda leaders would try to teach jihadists how to make chloroform no matter how easy it might be to make with store-bought, household chemicals, its use is limited.

"Chloroform is a pretty low-grade toxic chemical," Kellman said. "If this is the worst they are working with I would almost take that as good news. It's never good news when someone is working with something deadly but you're not going to be able to kill a lot of people."

In 2010, the al Qaeda magazine Inspire was promoting the use of pick-up trucks with sharpened blades to ram pedestrians in Chicago and elsewhere. Inspire's publishers were killed in a U.S. Drone strike.

This new magazine is said to be put out by al Qaeda explosives expert Abdullah Dhu al Bajadin and like its predecessor, calls on Allah to "free the Muslim prisoners," including Chicago "brother Shakir Masri," who is awaiting trial here on charges that he wanted to blow a busload of American soldiers.

The question for law enforcement and terror experts is if al Qaeda operatives are able to smuggle chloroform past airport security screeners, what else are they planning to sneak onto passenger planes?

"We're going to be able to keep metal things off planes but we're not going to be able to keep the sort of chemicals or especially biological agents, whether it's a modified flu virus or a modified plague, something that catches, something they don't have to inflict on every victim, the victims will inflict it on each other unknowingly," Kellman said. "The capacity for making those bugs increases every day and it's, at some point, bad guys are going to get the capacity to come up with something that could truly be devastating."

The first evidence that al Qaeda had a new motivational magazine came last week on an internet forum for radical Islamists.

The shadowy figure behind the new publication is considered by law enforcement to be an expert in explosives. He once hosted a live chartroom conversation for wanna-be bombers.