We are learning more about the intercepted al Qaeda messages that triggered the closure of 19 U.S. Embassies around the world, and a string of drone attacks. Intelligence sources tell CNN, American code breakers recognized words they believed signaled an attack was imminent. Anderson discussed this latest information with national security analysts Fran Townsend and Peter Bergen and former senior CIA and FBI official Philip Mudd.
We are learning more about what may have triggered the global terror alert that closed U.S. embassies around the world. According to The Daily Beast it is a "virtual meeting" with more than 20 of Al Qaeda's top leaders, and it was intercepted by U.S. Intelligence. According to the report, one American official compared it to "a meeting of the Legion of Doom." Anderson spoke with Daily Beast National Security Reporter Josh Rogin who helped break the story, and Former Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend.
CNN has learned that a message sent from Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri to an affiliate leader was the deciding factor that led to the closure of American embassies, and triggered a global travel alert. But that was not the only intelligence that has U.S. counter-terror officials concerned. Anderson gets the latest from Philip Mudd a senior official with the CIA and FBI, National security analyst Peter Bergen, and terrorism analyst Paul Cruikshank.
Questions remain about the mixed messages over who omitted al Qaeda from Amb. Susan Rice's talking points on the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya
U.S. intelligence believes that assailants connected to al Qaeda in Iraq were among the core group that attacked the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, a U.S. government official told CNN.
Previously, intelligence officials said there were signs of connections to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African wing of the terror group.
The revelation that members of al Qaeda in Iraq are suspected of involvement in the Libya attack comes at a time when there is a growing number of fighters from that group also taking part in the Syrian civil war.
Anderson Cooper talks with a former CIA deputy chief about the significance of the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi.
Peter Bergen was the only journalist allowed in the al Qaeda leader's compound. He describes what he saw and learned.
Anderson Cooper talks to former FBI agent Ali Soufan about al-Awlaki's prominence on the Arabian peninsula.
Editor's Note: Tonight on AC360°, Anderson interviews Ali Soufan, a former top FBI Special Agent who's been on the legal frontiers in the fight against Al Qaeda. He'll give us an insider's perspective on the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a major figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Read an excerpt from his book and tune in at 8pm ET.
By Ali H. Soufan with Daniel Freedman
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will win a hundred times in a hundred battles.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“You can’t stop the mujahideen,” Abu Jandal told me on September 17, 2001. “We will be victorious.” We sat across a rectangular table from each other in a nondescript interrogation room with unadorned white walls in a high-level national security prison in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. The prison was operated by the country’s central intelligence agency, the Political Security Organization (PSO), the complex also serving as its headquarters. PSO officials in traditional Yemeni dress were ranged on plastic chairs along one wall, observing the conversation. Abu Jandal—the name means “father of death”—was the most senior al-Qaeda operative in custody; he had served as Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguard and trusted confidant. We got to him through Fahd al-Quso, a Yemeni al-Qaeda operative involved in the October 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole. Quso had identified, in a photograph shown to him the previous evening, a man whom we knew to be Marwan al-Shehhi, who was on board United Airlines Flight 175 when it crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center. Shehhi had once stayed at a safe house in Afghanistan operated by Abu Jandal.
I gave my partner, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) special agent Robert McFadden, a bemused look. He raised his eyebrows and smiled at Abu Jandal. Only training and experience enabled Bob and me to smile and appear relaxed, because below the surface we were seething. “You’ll find that you have underestimated America,” I replied, speaking in Arabic, “but tell me, why do you think you’ll be victorious?”