The al-Qaeda supporters on the Shumukh forum have mixed reactions to the Abbottabad documents released by the CTC. Here’s a summary of the main thread (159824) that discusses the documents:
- These documents are not real. They are designed to sow discord among jihadis and create tension b/n al-Qaeda and the online jihadi forums.
- The documents are real and show normal disagreements between a commander and his subordinates. No big deal.
- We need to wait for Sahab (AQ’s media wing) to validate the documents.
- Even if the documents are false, most outside analysts agree they show the sincerity of AQ and its seriousness.
- Each of the documents contains an element of truth but the CTC has also mixed in falsehood, such as the bits about divisions between AQ leadership and the affiliates
- We need to see all of the Bin Laden documents to really know what’s going on. This is just a slice of the whole, intended to manipulate us.
- The documents were chosen very carefully. We should believe the nice parts and ignore the rest.
- We can actually benefit from the documents. There’s a lot of good advice for the jihadi movement in them. They cast Bin Laden in a good light.
On the authenticity question, in Knights under the Banner of the Prophet (2nd ed.) Zawahiri discusses a previous CTC release of documents. He does not dispute their authenticity but quibbles with the CTC’s attribution of some of them.