Questions over new al-Qaeda letter

See letter on CENTCOM site. A source tells me there is something "odd" about this letter, but nevertheless he's not going to "touch it."

He points to this passage: "the Doctor's message that the Americans published. It is a genuine letter and it represents the thoughts of the brothers, the shaykhs, and all of the intellectual and moral leadership here."

The sources notes: "[W]hy would Zarqawi need to be explicitly told that the letter was genuine. After all if it was a genuine letter wouldn't Zarqawi know already either from having received a copy through trusted contacts or some other direct means know that it was genuine rather than being told it is a 'oh by the way' manner almost 3 months after it was published in the West and a full six months after it was supposedly originally sent. Just something odd and a little too convenient about this. Also why would the analysis of the document on the Centcom website - created by the CTC - devote so much of its space to a tiny sentence - when this letter was in Word was 26 pages long and the passage appeared on page 10 - "

The passage is indeed odd, and reminiscent anomalies in the previous letter, allegedly sent by Zawahiri, in which he takes pains to explain the meaning of the Arabic name of his daughter, to another Arabic-speaking person, Zarqawi. (And by the way, the translation 'Zawahiri' provided turned out to be completely incorrect.) Oops!

At that time, I had feedback from credible sources (including those previously involved in conducting influence operations) that the letter had the hallmarks of a very sloppy influence operation.

Said one source: "If and when this breaks, the blowback of this kind of American hand-in-the-cookie jar could severely hurt us in the Middle East, Europe and with an already skeptical American media that would likely declare all-out war on the administration over this."

I also had it on good authority that some prominent conservative intellectuals (where they work will not be mentioned, since that would likely reveal that particular source) recognized it as a likely forgery and were "burning up the phone lines to Israel" because they were upset over its publication as genuine. (What was not explained was who they were speaking to in Israel and why.)

See my previous article: Zawahiri 'Letter' Draws Increasing Skepticism

Update: Friday 9.29.06

The source writes again:

"The translation is odd because in Arabic there is no equivalent to a comma. In fact the closest thing is and which will often be repeated however most translators will just drop it and substitute the comma, however a litany of items presented in almost laundry list patterns is not that unusual within Middle Eastern languages.

It is really odd that they devote so much to the issue of the authenticity though because as far as I am aware most of the original critics dropped it soon after it originally broke and the vast majority of people have accepted it as authentic a very long time ago. Something just doesn't smell right but then that at twenty dollars will get you a small meal at McDonalds. :)"