CNN on al Qaeda’s ‘encrypted messaging system’

Tonight, CNN‘s Barbara Starr published a report on the al Qaeda communications that led to the closure of more than 20 US diplomatic facilities. Starr notes:

CNN has also learned that the al Qaeda leaders communicated via some kind of encrypted messaging system, with multiple points of entry to allow for various parties to join in.

Starr is right, according to what we here at The Long War Journal have learned over the last two days. In our confirmation of the Daily Beast’s original reporting on this story, we were very careful not to divulge any additional technical details about Ayman al Zawahiri’s communications with his subordinates. But Starr’s reporting is right, based on what we’ve been told.

Many pundits and analysts got caught up on the Daily Beast’s use of the words “conference call” to describe these communications. This was, as Lake and Rogin have acknowledged, a shorthand description for communications that were far more complex than your average business conference call.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • mike merlo says:

    this is ‘old news’ & a dated outlook. For many decades Muslim Terrorists & Criminal Enterprises based in Muslim ‘run’ Nations/Governments have had access to Muslim Nations’ Diplomatic Immunity. Elements within their various Intelligence Communities & Militaries have long made available parts of their infrastructures & assets

  • Vern says:

    The US leadership dialed back on its pursuit of Al Qaeda by killing the AQ leaders with drones , thereby obtaining no HUMINT. Thinking this was “cheaper” the US will find this to lead to blindside attacks on US targets. Where are the “moles” promulgated by the 911 Commission?


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