Latest On Al-Qaeda, Iran Terror Threats To U.S.

The following graphic, which was discovered yesterday on an Arabic-speaking web site, is turning a few heads in the counter-terrorism community:

From Al Baker on The New York Times website earlier today:

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the image, discovered early on Monday on an Arabic-language Web site, was not tied to any specific threat against the city

Mr. Kelly said investigators “are still, obviously, very much concerned about the origination of this message” and are working with their counterparts in the federal government to understand its meaning, the timing and who is behind it.

Later on Tuesday, J. Peter Donald, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said that its terrorism task force was also investigating. He added: “There continues to be no specific or credible threat to New York at this time.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Others dismiss the idea that the image was meant to be a threat completely. Baker added:

But several terrorism experts were skeptical. One of them, Aaron Y. Zelin, the editor of the blog Jihadology and a researcher in the department of politics at Brandeis University, said in an e-mail that it “appears dubious” that the post was a real threat.

“The pictures were posted in ‘Department of Audio & Visual’ / ‘Images & Design’ as a note on how to Photoshop,” Mr. Zelin said. “It was a lesson, not threat,” he said.

Some lesson. As if the following Photoshopped image wasn’t worrisome enough already:

On a more serious note, a senior Iranian military commander issued a separate threat to the United States today. From Reuters this morning:

The United States would not be safe from retaliation if Iran is attacked by Washington, the Iran newspaper quoted a senior Revolutionary Guards commander on Tuesday as saying.

“In the face of any attack, we will have a crushing response. In that case, we will not only act in the boundaries of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, no place in America will be safe from our attacks,” Massoud Jazayeri was quoted as saying by the daily.

Iran would not strike any country first, he said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As I pointed out recently, some terrorism observers believe Iran has intelligence officers and other assets already in the United States who may be capable of carrying out retaliatory strikes within the U.S. homeland should Iran be attacked by America and/or Israel.

Sources:

Baker, Al. “Officials Seek Origin of Terrorism Threat Made in Al Qaeda’s Name.” The New York Times. 3 Apr. 2012. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/nyregion/new-york-police-commissioner-takes-al-qaeda-threat-seriously.html). 3 Apr. 2012.

“Iran says could hit U.S. if it came under attack: paper.” Reuters. 3 Apr. 2012. (http://news.yahoo.com/iran-says-could-hit-u-came-under-attack-153211942.html). 3 Apr. 2012.

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