- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2013

American al Qaeda propagandist Adam Y. Gadahn has released an audio message calling for the assassinations of U.S. diplomats across the Middle East, highlighting how the terrorist network is trying to capitalize on the deteriorating security situation in the region as post-revolutionary chaos tightens its grip on Libya.

In his 39-minute message, Gadahn congratulates “Muslim brothers in Libya” for killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi last year, calls on others to follow their example and savages elected leaders of the Libyan government as tools of the West.

The message was released as the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, and the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, remained closed Monday — the result of terrorism warnings from intercepted al Qaeda communications.

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“We will continue to evaluate the threats to Sanaa and Lahore, and make subsequent decisions about the reopening of those facilities based on that information,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

In Israel, the government’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued travel directives because of “concrete” and “very high” terrorist threats, The Times of Israel reported.

Israelis already were banned from traveling to a half-dozen countries including Iran, Lebanon and Syria. On Monday, the bureau ordered them not to travel to Sudan, Somalia, Algeria, Djibouti, Mauritania, Libya and Tunisia or to leave those countries immediately.

Behind the warnings are “threats to carry out attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets” during upcoming Jewish holidays and the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the bureau said.

Gadahn’s latest message, dated in March but released over the weekend, is the latest in a string of al Qaeda communications exhorting supporters to seize opportunities presented by the toppling of secular autocracies in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, called Monday for Gadahn to be treated as an “enemy combatant.”

“Even though he is an American citizen, he should be subject to being killed or captured by our military and intelligence forces,” Mr. Graham said.

‘Lacks the charisma’

Since his first public messages in 2004, Gadahn has emerged as a major English-language cheerleader for the al Qaeda terrorist network.

But a former U.S. intelligence official said it is unclear whether Gadahn has the kind of operational role that would earn him a place on the U.S. target list of suspected terrorists that President Obama has declared can be killed by U.S. special operations forces or armed drones.

Gadahn has long been a propagandist — although not a particularly effective one — for al Qaeda,” said Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Mr. Leiter said Gadahn’s propaganda alone would not earn him a place on the U.S. target list.

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