Amidst plenty of speculation that the issue became moot a few months ago, the US has begun to increase its efforts to capture Adam Gadahn, AKA “Azzam al-Amriki”, the Garden Grove hirabi who joined al-Qaeda years ago. Gadahn became the first American charged with treason since World War II, and the State Department would love to get him alive for trial. A massive ad campaign will be launched in Afghanistan to find AQ’s translator:
The United States is turning up the heat in the hunt for the California boy turned al Qaeda operative, Adam Gadahn, who has been charged with treason and is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan. If caught and convicted, Gadahn could face the death penalty.
The State Department along with the Department of Diplomatic Security announced the beginning of a publicity campaign in Afghanistan urging locals to provide any information on Gadahn’s whereabouts, with a reward if the information leads to his capture.
Radio advertisements with information concerning the $1 million reward have already begun airing. Additionally, printed materials including matchbooks, handbills and posters will be distributed throughout the region in the coming weeks in attempts to elicit cooperation from members of the Afghan community.
The lack of English translations on recent video and audio tapes has led many to suspect that Gadahn reached room temperature in a January attack on a terrorist safe house. AQ itself insists that Gadahn either survived the attack or wasn’t there at all. If he still lives, he has become much more quiet than usual.
Perhaps he has been unable to traverse the frontier back to Pakistan from Afghanistan, and of course the US would have trouble traversing it as well to spread its ad campaign. The sudden effort to entice Afghanis to provide Gadahn’s location may indicate that the US has intelligence that he’s stuck on our side of the border, so to speak. While Gadahn’s capture might be a big psychological boost for the US, it’s not that critical operationally — so this new campaign probably didn’t just appear out of the blue.
But let’s not diminish that psychological boost. Americans would love to see Gadahn frog-marched into detention and tried for treason. Thanks to his technological abilities, we have millions of witnesses to his treachery. The satisfaction of such a trial would only be exceeded by his execution. That’s worth a seven-figure ad campaign.