Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Al-Qaeda Propaganda Video Undermines Obama Drone Strike Memo

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A 39-minute-long propaganda video from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula appears to attempt to undermine the Obama administration's ongoing drone memo.

The video was posted to the internet on Saturday, only days after the Second Circuit Court released a legal memo pointing to Anwar al-Awlaki's death in a CIA drone attack in September 2011 as 'justified'.

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According to the memo, Awlaki was the head of operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and responsible for recruiting and motivating individuals to carry out terrorist attacks against the US.

Awlaki was a U.S. citizen killed in a drone strike in Yemen. Only a month later, the American and Yemeni imam's 16-year-old son was also tragically killed in another strike.

The recent video posted by al-Qaeda seems intent on setting things straight, at least on their end, by not focusing on Awlaki but rather bringing attention to the life of Said al-Shihri, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

Shihri climbed the upper echelons of the al-Qaeda network to become a deputy commander before he died from wounds he suffered during a U.S. drone strike in 2012.  

According to the video, Shihri, and not Awlaki, was the one "responsible for external operations against America."

The statement comes as a blow to the Obama administration who has spent years blaming Awlaki for attempted terrorist activities in the US.

On the day Awlaki was killed in the strike, President Obama referred to him as "the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," claiming that it was Awlaki who was responsible for a failed underwear bomb attack on an airliner while it was flying over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

The video, on the other hand, seeks to give the recognition and credit to Shihri instead, suggesting that U.S. intelligence may have been mistaken in placing the blame on Awlaki. 

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