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24 March 2009

Al Qaeda Terrorism Manual Surfaces on Web Site

By Matthew Harwood

"When you think about al-Qaida's senior leadership, you have sophisticated thinkers there," he says. "People with engineering degrees and doctorates — those sorts of folks. That's not who is being targeted with this handbook. This is for a different class of terrorist, if you will."

While the manual might suggest a hint of desperation, experts say it also presents some real concerns. Georgetown University professor and counterterrorism expert Bruce Hoffman says the manual is aimed at attracting people who are less likely to arouse the suspicions of law enforcement. And it may be part of al-Qaida efforts to attract followers who can blend into different communities.

"I think it really reflects what we see in many established terrorist groups historically," he says. "This persistent quest or search for a new and broader constituency from which they can potentially draw recruits from."

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