Media Criticism

The Intercept Finds an Anonymous Source It Can Trust

By Benjamin Wittes
Friday, January 9, 2015, 4:34 PM

For years, Glenn Greenwald has been railing against against mainstream newspapers for, as he put it just the other day, "as usual---corruptly grant[ing] anonymity to 'senior administration officials' to disseminate their inflammatory claims with no accountability."

At last, however, Greenwald's publication, the always-adversarial The Intercept, has found an organization worthy of trust, one to whose senior officials it can grant anonymity to advance claims with no accountability: Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula.

Jeremy Scahill reports today: "A source within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has provided The Intercept with a full statement claiming responsibility for the attack against the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris."

He goes on:

Earlier in the afternoon, a source within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula gave The Intercept a separate message praising the attack on Charlie Hebdo. “The lions of Jihad have stood. The followers of Muhammad – peace be upon him – have never forgotten,” the message declared. “Do not look for links or affiliation with Jihadi fronts. It is enough they are Muslims. They are Mujahideen. This is the Jihad of the Ummah. So France, are you ready for more attacks?”

The source, who demanded anonymity because the group had not yet released an official statement, also told The Intercept that two images in the latest issue of its publication, Inspire, published in December, contained a clue foreshadowing the attack on Charlie Hebdo. One image (at right, click to enlarge) shows a Muslim kneeling in prayer with a cooking pot similar to the one used by the Boston marathon bombers. “If you have the knowledge and inspiration all that’s left is to take action.” On the page immediately below it is a picture of a French passport. Throughout the day, several AQAP members have been praising the attack on social media and discussion sites. An AQAP source pointed The Intercept to a recording they claim is Cherif Kouachi, one of the suspects, acknowledging that his trips to Yemen in 2011 were “financed” by U.S.-born radical imam Anwar al Awlaki and that he was sent to Yemen by AQAP.

(h/t Joshua Faust)