MIDDLE EAST: Al Qaeda as petty, pencil-pushing penny pinchers
A spate of articles in the Los Angeles Times chronicled the recent activities of the Al Qaeda network, which continues to be an unsettling force in the region.
A report in today's paper by Sebastian Rotella takes a look at Al Qaeda's lighter side. Recently declassified documents reveal inner workings of the group.
Turns out Al Qaeda operates a lot more like the dysfunctional firm in the television show "The Office" than the slick bands of bad guys in a James Bond movie.
Here's the text from one memo sent by an Al Qaeda manager to a disobedient subordinate:
I was very upset by what you did. I obtained 75,000 rupees for you and your family's trip to Egypt. I learned that you did not submit the voucher to the accountant, and that you made reservations for 40,000 rupees and kept the remainder claiming you have a right to do so. . . . Also with respect to the air-conditioning unit, . . . furniture used by brothers in Al Qaeda is not considered private property. . . . I would like to remind you and myself of the punishment for any violation.
—Times staff writer
Photo: Mohammed Atef, left, sits with Osama bin Laden, right, and Bin Laden's son Mohammed in early 2001. Documents show Al Qaeda's obsession with paperwork. Credit: AFP