For music fans, the pages of Billboard account for the top hits in America on a weekly basis.
Pop singers and country stars transverse up and down the lists as their popularity in mainstream music wanes and waxes with the release of their newest albums and radio-friendly singles. Now al Qaeda has their own hit list, but you won’t find Lady Gaga and Adele vying for top billing. Instead you’ll get the names of members of Congress, Pentagon officials and others affiliated with the military-industrial complex.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have circulated a bulletin after a jihadi website began posting the names and photographs of intended terror targets in the US.
In response to a call for action from American-born al Qaeda spokesperson Adam Gadahn, members of an online forum have posted the names of dozens of individuals in a Top 40 list complete with photos that mentions figures linked to American involvement in Iraq. The FBI says the list has "the most target specific threat postings” since the assassination of Osama bin Laden last month.
Following a June 3 video of Gadahn in which he encourages individual acts of jihad, users of the website have suggested targets, including specific lawmakers, a conservative pundit and executives of an US company that is involved in drone aircraft production. No specific threats are outlined on the site, though Gadahn tells his followers that it is quite easy to purchase firearms in the US and references Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan.
The FBI has issued warnings to those named and adds that it is unknown if any threats will progress past mere Internet discussion. The agency notes that web-based threats from al Qaeda rarely materialize. Users of the site, however, have asked other users to try and find addresses for those listed, which could act as an electronic Rolodex for terrorists.
One user suggested that bombs packaged in parcels be sent to those on the list. Another explicitly asks users to reach out to the closest target and “get them.”
Users of the site, which is private, have been continuing to add information about targeted figures throughout the days since Gadahn released his video. The FBI warning was issued on June 8, five days after the call for “lone wolfs” to embark on individual jihads.