Al Qaeda’s American Ghostwriter

If U.S. intelligence officials are correct, the driving force behind one of al Qaeda’s latest propaganda initiatives is a U.S. citizen. Yemeni-American Samir Khan, 23, is believed to be the main author of Inspire, a slick, English-language online magazine published by al Qaeda’s Arabian arm and intended to instigate violence among aspiring jihadists. Khan, who was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Queens and North Carolina, flew to Yemen in 2008 on a round-trip ticket but never returned. While in the States, he was known for running various radical Islamist blogs in which he translated al Qaeda multimedia into English, using the handle inshaAllhashaheed—Arabic for “God willing a martyr.” Inspire’s first issue, which appeared last week, included articles on bomb-making, encoding messages, and an interview with a prominent Islamic cleric.