U.S. intelligence officials are complaining that recent news leaks of America's spying capabilities have severely undermined efforts to keep tabs on al-Qaeda. The New York Times reports Monday that unnamed officials claim the normal communications channels used by al-Qaeda's top operatives have gone silent in the two months, following a major news scoop that seemed to embarrass the terrorist organization's leaders, but also exposed the manner in which Western spies were keeping tabs on them.
You may recall that back in August, the United States temporarily closed most of its embassies in the Middle East (and issued global travel warnings), due to an unspecified threat that appeared to be emanating from Yemen. A couple days later, it was reported that the warnings came about because al-Qaeda was believed to be in the final stages of planning a major attack (that was now apparently averted.) Shortly after that, McClatchy reported that the information on the attack came from "an intercepted communication between Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the head of the Yemen-based Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and al Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri in which Zawahiri gave “clear orders” to al-Wuhaysi, who was recently named al Qaida’s general manager, to carry out an attack."
A few days later, Eli Lake and Josh Rogin at The Daily Beast piled on, adding that the intercepted communication in question was actually a "conference call" between more than 20 top al-Qaeda leaders.