Al-Qaeda magazine urges terrorists to set wildfires in Montana

Posted: May 16, 2012

Beetle kill trees burn faster than live treesTerrorists who want to strike fear in the hearts of Americans would do well to set wildfires in Montana, al-Qaida advises in the most recent issue of its English-language magazine,Inspire.

“It is difficult to choose a better place other than in the valleys of Montana where the population increases rapidly,” Inspire’s “AQ Chef” columnist writes.

The magazine disappeared for a while after its founders, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, were killed last year in a U.S. missile strike.

But it recently reappeared online, its grammatically challenged cover urging “It is of your freedom to ignite a firebomb.” Inside, the AQ Chef gives three pages detailing the recipe for an “ember bomb” – along with the suggestion to deploy such bombs in Montana.

Not if the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office has anything to do with it.

“We are an equal-opportunity law enforcement agency,” said sheriff’s Detective Jason Johnson. “We don’t care who it is. If they do anything to try to harm Missoula County citizens, we’re gonna stop ’em.”

News of the Inspire article spread among federal agencies Thursday.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture, including the U.S Forest Service, works closely with its partners within the intelligence community, including both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice on any terrorist threats, including threats of this nature,” said Forest Service spokesman Brandan Schulze.

“We are asking Forest Service employees, law enforcement and the general public to continue to be vigilant for any signs of wildfires, and to report unusual circumstances or situations that seem out of the ordinary for outdoor recreation on all public lands,” he said.

The Inspire article states that America has more houses in the “country sides” than cities, and tells readers that on Aug. 6, 2000, “wildfires extended on the sides of a valley, south of Darby town. Six separated fires started and then met to form a massive fire that burnt down tens of houses.”

The 2000 wildfires were the Northern Rockies’ worst in 50 years. In Montana alone, nearly 1 million acres burned, more than one-third of that in the Bitterroot National Forest.


The article also mentions destructive wildfires in Australia in 2002 and in 1983, and asks, “Is it possible for us to cause a similar destructive impact using a similar weapon?”

That’s where the ember bomb comes in. The instructions include using a clock, washing machine timer or acid to set the bomb afire.

After the list of complicated instructions, Inspire also suggests simply using a lit cigarette or a magnifying glass placed atop tinder in the sunlight.

The magazine says wildfires can cause “significant losses to the factories and companies of wooden products and everything that is linked to this trade.” Its research apparently did not uncover the disastrous effects of the recession upon the wood products industry.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who sits on the Homeland Security Committee, said Thursday that “no corner of this country is immune to terrorism, and we can never let our guard down. I will work tirelessly on the Homeland Security Committee to ensure the safety of all Americans.”

Meanwhile, al-Qaida members might not want to try their ember bombs – or cigarettes, or magnifying glasses – here, Johnson said.

The sheriff’s office has had years of experience dealing with folks cooking meth in the woods, Johnson said.

“We’re well aware of the ways arsonsists start fires,” he said. “We know the tactics.”

And he added, “I’d want to send a message to anybody in our neck of the woods who shares ideas with al-Qaida: We have dedicated forces who will aggressively go after anyone who gets into that stuff.”