In last week's issue of The New Yorker, there's a whole article about how Adam Gadahn became a homegrown terrorist and is NOW possibly one of the most respected member today of the al Qaeda:
Adam Gadahn, the first American to be charged with treason in more than fifty years, was born in Oregon, grew up in rural California, and converted to Islam at the age of seventeen. He is now twenty-eight. No one who knew him before his religious awakening ever thought that he would join Al Qaeda, and many people who knew him after he did are still perplexed.And that's probably the single most scary part about him, that not only is he one of their most respected members, he's possibly one of their most devoted-to-Islam members as well. Read the whole thing to see what they have to report about him.
And yet, in a short time, Gadahn has become one of Osama bin Laden’s senior operatives. (He is believed to be hiding in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan.) He is a member of Al Qaeda’s “media committee,” and his responsibilities are thought to include those of translator, video producer, and cultural interpreter. Primarily, though, Gadahn is a spokesperson, a role he performs with tremendous conviction. He has addressed the United States in five videos, most of which reach a wide audience on the Internet and, in some form or another, have been discussed on the evening news. Last year, shortly before the fifth anniversary of September 11th, Al Qaeda’s leadership featured Gadahn in a video titled “An Invitation to Islam.”
The video began with an introduction from Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s main theoretician, who referred to Gadahn tenderly as a brother and as “a perceptive person who wants to lead his people out of darkness into the light.” Zawahiri implored his Western audience to listen to Gadahn, even to follow his example. Al Qaeda had never before given one of its members, let alone an American, an endorsement so intimate and direct.