Al-Qaeda Article Warns Their ‘Ship Will Sink’ if Jihadists Are Sloppy with Cell, Online Communications

A new al-Qaeda magazine lectures jihadists on taking more personal responsibility for the security of their communications as “one of the major failures of the jihadi movement has been the unhindered ability of the enemy to gain access to vital intelligence.”

The article in One Ummah, released in its first English-language version to coincide with last week’s 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, notes that the work of terrorist organizations these days has an “interactive interlinked nature” and any security-related “dysfunction or defect” can adversely affect other parts of the enterprise.

A jihadist who violates safeguards “transforms into a strategic weapon in the enemy’s arsenal,” and “such incidents have bled our hearts because they have resulted in the loss of the best of our soldiers, the likes of whom are an exceptionally rare commodity in this age,” the article continues.

Al-Qaeda also asserts that “irresponsible behavior” has “caused the suspension of many projects” and has “delayed victory.”

The article quotes al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula leader Qasim al-Raymi, who has railed against jihadists using unsecured cell phones and other vulnerabilities: “They are the best of our brothers, but they have all the latest news about the organization. And they communicate with people, take information from them, give updates. All the enemy does is monitors their mobile phones. The result: all the information they possess reaches the enemy as well.”

It also quotes a 10-year-old letter to Osama bin Laden that states mobile and internet communications were “a valuable intelligence asset” in Waziristan, “which continuously provides a flow of information to the enemy.”

“Even more dangerous is the fact that there are elements in the field who are extremely difficult to control, and who do not hesitate to say anything on phones or on the internet. I do not exaggerate when I say that they pose a threat more dangerous than spies,” stated the letter citation, branding intercepted communications “the primary cause of our security-related losses since our withdrawal from Afghanistan to date.”

The author of the article concluded that “lack of any sense of responsibility, anarchic tendencies, and reckless, negligent behaviour constitute the deadliest of diseases that can proliferate in the ranks of the jihadi movement.”

“These are, without doubt, among the leading causes of the internal collapse of Islamic organizations that resist modern ignorance. As a result, years of efforts, contributions, and sacrifices go in vain,” the author said, adding that if leaders don’t take “decisive steps” then “the ship will sink, with all those onboard.”

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Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a senior fellow specializing in terrorism analysis at the Haym Salomon Center. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15, a private investigator and a security consultant. She is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera and SiriusXM.

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