Al Qaeda terrorist in trouble for not filing expense reports

It’s a fascinating find from the Associated Press, published last night, about a nine-page letter that Al Qaeda’s North African branch sent a recalcitrant employee (read: terrorist), and which AP got its hands on.

The letter reads like a typical American work evaluation, with the bosses whining about the employee constantly not filling out his expense reports, not being available when needed, and constantly going over their heads to the big boss without consulting them first.  And the letter references an earlier letter that the terrorist bad-boy employee, Moktar Belmoktar, wrote to the central command, going over the head of his local regional bosses.

Ruh roh.

So the employee eventually got fed up, left the company, and formed his own competing terrorist firm.

The actual Al Qaeda letter that the AP found.

The actual Al Qaeda letter that the AP found.

What’s fascinating is just how much of a typical business organization Al Qaeda is. I mean, seriously, they have terrorists filing expense reports? Can you imagine that conversation? (You paid WHAT for fertilizer?)

AP was kind enough to post the full nine-page letter, and a translation online, and reading through it is absolutely amazing.  Who knew Al Qaeda was so whiny?  This letter is hysterical.  Here are a few snippets:

We are forced and obliged to write to you, and we had not wanted our correspondence to center on such issues, given the phase that the jihadist project is passing through in the region and the great challenges that it faces. But what else can we do?

Oh, we’ve all had that boss, girl.

In truth, your letter was not without some merit and you are credited with that, God willing.

Hmm, the boss is being nice. Watch your back.

It also contained some amount of back-biting, name-calling and sneering.


Our good brothers, know that we are not hurt by having our mistakes pointed out, rather it pleases us and makes us happy.

Oh yeah, sure it does.

The letter goes on to gripe about how Belmoktar negotiated too cheap a rate for the release of a Canadian hostage.  Apparently paying “only” 700,00 euros ($899,000) for a Canadian is kind of like paying Costco prices for Gucci.

And here’s the part about Belmoktar not filling out his expense report:

We ask you also: How many administrative and financial reports have you sent up to your Emirate? Why do the successive emirs of the region only have difficulties with you? You in particular every time. Or are all of them wrong and brother Khaled is right?

Yeah, are they, Khaled, are they?

God, who doesn’t recognize that boss?

Then the letter goes on, for pages, with the bosses numbering the quotes from the employee’s earlier letter, and refuting them point by point, angrier and angrier.

Then there’s this:

As for your whispering in the ear of the organization’s emir, we consider it as derisive and snide and denigrating a figure who by our ancient Islamic law should be esteemed and respected, even if he were a black Ethiopian slave with a head like a raisin. [emphasis added]

I’m guessing in Al Qaeda-speak, that has some kind of punch that’s lost in the translation.

You can read through the rest of the document.  If it’s real, it’s fascinating how much of a business terror really is.  But it’s also fascinating that, like any other business, middle management, even in Al Qaeda, can be so annoying.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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11 Responses to “Al Qaeda terrorist in trouble for not filing expense reports”

  1. Phick Steven says:

    hahahaha…Funny one this is. I wonder what is wrong with the system. This some what makes me feel that terrorism is given more importance than anything else in America. I wonder whether tomorrow they started using some highly advanced technical version like cloud based expense reporting software as well.LOL

  2. BeccaM says:

    I think this has been done before… Oh wait, here it is:

    Osama is a businessman who sees terrorism as a profit center, selling terrorism-themed T-shirts, caps and ballpoint pens. Abdul, a convert to Islam, acts as if he cannot kill enough people, or make bombs big enough. Ali, a Pakistani, has won a competition for the honor of avenging the cartoons published in Denmark that disparaged Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

    Despite the threat they seem to present, the men have so far eluded the Danish police – not because they run such a sophisticated operation but because they are the principal characters in a situation comedy, “The Terror Cell.”
    The terrorists lurk in an apartment in downtown Copenhagen. Their closest neighbor, a polite and elderly lady, will not betray them. She believes that World War II has not yet ended, that the boys are hiding from the Germans.

  3. Pherber Lovelace says:

    Bwahahaha. Not sure why this is so hilarious, but it is. I wonder if they have a Dwight Shrute?

  4. MyrddinWilt says:

    There is a similar letter that surfaced some time ago where Zawahiri was berating a subordinate for the cost of purchasing a fax machine ($150).

    I assume that the head like a rasin thing is something that was reportedly said about someone and word got back to HQ.

    It would be very interesting to know just how much influence Zawahiri still has. By now he must be even less accessible than Bin Laden was. How much contact does he have with subordinates?

  5. BeccaM says:

    The Wall of Dis, by my estimation. lol

  6. Naja pallida says:

    Mmm… yeah, Moktar. I almost forgot. Ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too…

  7. Whitewitch says:

    Hi John – your “translation” link goes to the arabic version…any chance you can help this lazy witch with the link to read the translation? Thank you!!

  8. Whitewitch says:

    Guess we are both in trouble as I spewed coffee all over my keyboard and Tech is sneering at me.

  9. Bill_Perdue says:

    Bureaucratic bosses are eternal.

  10. UncleBucky says:

    Made me laugh out loud. And now I am called to the “office”. Dang you and your punkin head! :D

  11. nicho says:

    As I suspected, corporate HR and Accounting come from the same circle of hell.

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