U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick Tuesday faulted the U.S. intelligence community for failing to see a connection between a terrorist group and a radical Charlotte blogger now believed to edit an al-Qaida magazine in Yemen.
Meanwhile a spokesman for local Muslims said he and others met with Samir Khan at least twice in 2007 in an unsuccessful effort to steer him away from supporting terrorism.
Intelligence sources told national news organizations Monday that they believe Khan is the top editor of "Inspire," an online magazine designed as a recruiting tool for the group al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Myrick, a Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Observer she's frustrated.
"It becomes clear to me that he had contacts with al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula while he was in the U.S.," she said. "And if that's the case, the intelligence community should have been able to discover that. And if they knew it and didn't do something, that raises more red flags."
Khan, about 24, is a Saudi-born U.S. citizen whose family moved to New York City when he was 7 and to North Carolina in 2004.
He's a former Central Piedmont Community College student who in 2005 started a blog called "Inshallahshaheed," or "a martyr soon if God wills." It was the first of a succession of blogs he edited from the suburban home in northeast Charlotte that he shared with his parents.
According to a 2007 New York Times story, one blog featured "glad tidings" from a North African militant whose group had massacred 31 Algerian troops. Links connected readers to sites where they could get insurgent videos from Iraq.
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