al-Qaeda Office Space

Inside Al-Qaeda's Hard Drive:

This was the man who that December would take $1,100 from me in exchange for two of al-Qaeda's most valuable computers -- a 40-gigabyte IBM desktop and a Compaq laptop. He had stolen them from al-Qaeda's central office in Kabul on November 12, the night before the city fell to the Northern Alliance. He wanted the money, he said, so that he could travel to the United States and meet some American girls. [...]

Messages were usually encrypted and often couched in language mimicking that of a multinational corporation; thus Osama bin Laden was sometimes "the contractor," acts of terrorism became "trade," Mullah Omar and the Taliban became "the Omar Brothers Company," the security services of the United States and Great Britain became "foreign competitors," and so on. [...]

    From: Ayman al-Zawahiri
    Folder: Outgoing Mail -- To Yemen
    Date: February 11, 1999

    Noble brother Ezzat ...

    Following are my comments on the summary accounting I received:

    ... With all due respect, this is not an accounting. It's a summary accounting. For example, you didn't write any dates, and many of the items are vague.

    The analysis of the summary shows the following:

    1. You received a total of $22,301. Of course, you didn't mention the period over which this sum was received. Our activities only benefited from a negligible portion of the money. This means that you received and distributed the money as you please ...
    2. Salaries amounted to $10,085 -- 45 percent of the money. I had told you in my fax that we've been receiving only half salaries for five months. What is your reaction or response to this?

    3. Loans amounted to $2,190. Why did you give out loans? Didn't I give clear orders to Muhammad Saleh to refer any loan requests to me? We have already had long discussions on this topic...

"What's this I hear about you having trouble with your TPS reports?" he did not go on to say.

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9 Responses:

  1. tokyolove says:

    Yeah, we'll need you to go ahead and fill out those terrorist loan forms.

    That'd be great...

  2. ex_sjc says:

    I wonder if any al-Qaeda guys got busted for playing Minesweeper on the clock.

  3. dzm6 says:

    I've always suspected that these guys were just as disorganized and paralyzed by ego & process as any corporation I've ever worked for.

    To paraphrase jwz: [There are] those who want to go work for a terrorist organization to make it scary, and those who want to go work for a scary terrorist organization.

  4. dcdan says:

    What scares me a lot is how if you switch around the roles in a lot of the dialog the rhetoric sounds a lot like what we hear from the current administration.

    • down8 says:

      Or any other administration, of any kind, anywhere, ever before.

      Thus the comedy. :^)


      • lovingboth says:

        .. which is why they used it.

        If you start using words like 'bomb' in your emails and calls, various monitoring programs will go 'Ah ha!' Talk about 'product' and no-one will care.

  5. mkay422 says:

    and meet some American girls.

    Poor fellow.

  6. flipzagging says:

    Osama's letter was strangely familiar. He looks like he's drawing the big picture, but the details of his plan for success are grandiose nonsense.

    Where have I heard this before? FuckedCompany CEO memos.

    The scary part is that I remember exactly how long it takes reality to catch up with people like that, as long as they're surfing some trend.

  7. wilecoyote says:

    "The atlantic" is going pay-per-view? That sucks.