Rumors have swirled since a missile attack in January that one of its unintended targets may have been the American traitor, Adam Gadahn. Usually a high-profile character, his colleagues had reportedly not seen him since the strike that killed Abu Laith al-Libi, the intended target of the strike. Today, though, the Pakistani newspaper The Nation reports that al-Qaeda explicitly says Gadahn lives:
Meanwhile, the Al-Qaeda Spokesman Ahmad Salman contradicted reports regarding killing of Ezzam Al-Americee in the recent missile attack at Khushhali Toorikhel near Mirali Town of North Waziristan Agency on January 29 last.
The Spokesman said that Ezzam Al Americee is alive.
The leading Al-Qaeda figure Abu Laith Al Laibi along with his aides Abu Sahal and Abu Obaid from Egypt were killed in missile attack at Khushhali Toorikhel, North Waziristan Agency.
AQ would normally offer praises to “martyrs” on their official websites, both as obituaries and as recruiting tools. Al-Libi received such a tribute immediately after his death, but they had not commented on Gadahn until now. His lower profile may indicate that he has been injured, or simply that he has had little to say since someone dropped a bomb on al-Libi’s head. AQ would have little reason to lie about this; Gadahn simply isn’t that important.
That doesn’t mean the US wouldn’t like to get their hands on Gadahn. Lord Haw Haw didn’t have much strategic value as a target during World War II, but that didn’t keep the British from stretching his neck at the end of it. That seems a better end for Gadahn anyway — having to face his former countrymen and returning to the US not to bring the ummah to North America, but to face justice for his treason.