The current New Yorker takes its turn with the tale of Adam Gadahn, the Southern California kid from a hippie family who converted to Islam and who now is thought to be a key spokesman for Osama bin Laden. He carries the name of Azzam al-Amriki, or Azzam the American. He's under indictment here for treason and is believed to be hiding out in Pakistan, seen only in occasional videotapes from the terrorists.
Adam Gadahn, though he tries to adopt the composure of a statesman, exudes the zealotry of a convert, and of youth. Sometimes his syntax is so baroque, his sentiment so earnest, that he sounds like a character from “The Lord of the Rings.” “The call has gone out,” he proclaimed in one video. “The era of jihad and resistance has dawned in all its glory.” Mostly, though, Gadahn sounds angry. In 2005, with his head wrapped in a black turban and his face covered with a black veil, he warned, “We love nothing better than the heat of battle, the echo of explosions, and slitting the throats of the infidels.”