The NYPD intelligence division, CIA and FBI are concerned Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal is becoming a new Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni Al Qaeda cleric who went from preaching to plotting.Awlaki has been the most active of the imams providing spiritual guidance to al Qaeda inspired jihadis around the world, and several of the most recent terror plots and incidents were by those inspired by Awlaki, including the Fort Hood massacre shoot Maj. Nidal Hassan, Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and underwear bomber Farouk Abdulmutallab.
"El-Faisal is focused on propaganda," one U.S. counterterror official in Washington told the Daily News. "But the last few years, he's dabbled in operational things like recruitment and facilitation."
He also inspired Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and failed airplane underwear bomber Farouk Abdulmutallab.
"His reach goes far beyond Jamaica," the U.S. official said. "He's trying to expand his network in Africa and Asia."
A law enforcement source said El-Faisal "has a big ego" and hates "playing second fiddle" to perceived rival Awlaki - targeted for death by the U.S. for his links to the Fort Hood shootings and Abdulmutallab.
El-Faisal started out giving fiery sermons in London that were posted online by New York-based extremist website Revolution Muslim, which regards him as an in-house imam.
However, when he was known as Imam Al-Jamaikee, Faisal preached to Al Qaeda shoe bomber Richard Reid, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and 2005 British train bomber Germaine Lindsay before the U.K. jailed him on a terror rap for four years.
If he's nearly as vainglorious as intel services and law enforcement believes him to be, his outsized ego will try to exhort his followers on to carrying out more spectacular attacks and al-Awlaki's been able to achieve. He is also likely to attempt to muster more followers to his ranks in an attempt to wrest control from Awlaki, who is currently in Yemen and trying to avoid being captured by Yemeni and Saudi forces or UAV airstrikes.
Law enforcement may also try to play the factions against each other in an attempt to undermine both.