A window on al Qaeda’s views of U.S. Intelligence Agencies and Counterterrorism efforts.
An al Qaeda document called The Myth of Delusion has been released on the Internet and also distributed via a jihadi email list. This 152 page document, written in both English and Arabic, is an attempt at an analytical look at how the U.S. intelligence agencies – the CIA, NSA and FBI, as well as military and other governmental intelligence agencies – are structured and how they operate inside the United States, in the Middle East and beyond. The document examines the structure of the agencies, how operatives are recruited, the tools of the intelligence trade, “dirty” operations, international operations, a look at the 9-11 attack and the CIA’s intelligence on al Qaeda, “internal conflicts” in the intelligence agencies, and the agencies plans for confronting the jihadis.
The Myth of Delusion contains accurate information on the various U.S. agencies, some of it of a sensitive nature. But it is seeded with a host of conspiracy theories, evidence that jihadi groups are unable to exercise critical judgment on the information it obtains. At times it is difficult to know if the document is a critical look at U.S. intelligence agencies or a propaganda and recruiting tool.
The Myth of Delusion was written by Muhammad Khalil al-Hakaymah (a.k.a. Abu Jihad al-Masri), a member of the breakaway portion of the Egyptian Islamic Group (Gama’a al-Islamiyah). Al-Hakaymah is currently believed to be operating in Pakistan’s western tribal agencies. Last summer, Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the Egyptian Islamic Group merged with al Qaeda, and al-Hakaymah pledged allegiance to al Qaeda. Factions withing EIJ denied the merger, and al-Hakaymah pleaded with them on an Internet forum to continue the global jihad.
Despite the evident flaws in the document, The Myth of Delusion demonstrates al Qaeda’s desire to develop and disseminate intelligence to counter U.S. and Western government’s operations in the Long War. Al-Hakaymah follows in the tradition of Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (a.k.a. Abu Musab al-Suri), who provided a critical look at jihadi operations and suggested a course of action to fight Middle Eastern governments as well as the West. Nasar is currently in U.S. custody after being captured in Pakistan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.