New al-Qaeda Chief Former U.S. Resident

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A new al Qaeda leader has close ties to the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Adnan Shukrijumah has assumed the role once held by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He is also likely in regular contact with al Qaeda's senior leadership, including Osama bin Laden.

Shukrijumah had permanent U.S. resident status and lived in the country for more than 15 years.

"He knows how the system works. He knows how to get a driver's license. He knows how to get a passport," said Brian LeBlanc, the FBI's lead Shukrijumah investigator.

The FBI said this is the first time someone so intimately familiar with American society has been placed in charge of planning attacks.

"He's making operational decisions is the best way to put it," LeBlanc said. "He's looking at attacking the U.S. and other Western countries. Basically through attrition, he has become his old boss."

Agents have been searching for Shukrijumah since 2003.

*Originally published August 5, 2010.

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