Claims about Al-Qaeda Name

An executive order, issued by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1998 just after the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, stated the Al Qaeda name with the spelling “al-Qaida.” The order, issued on August 20, 1998, states the organization as one of several associated with Osama bin Laden as well as members of the Islamic Army, Islamic Salvation Foundation and many other institutions.

Although no evidence, the Al Qaida name may have been introduced to U.S. military intelligence by Jamal al-Fadl who had facilitated information on bin Laden since 1996, thus appearing as a witness in the trial of those accused of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. During the trial al-Fadl stated Al-Qaeda was founded in late 1989 to early 1990 as bin Laden was financially supporting an assembly of individuals called Maktab al-Khadamat, which was being led by Abdallah Azzam. Al-Fadl testified that the group was based in Pakistan and offered training to Muslims who would cross the border into Afghanistan to fight. He also stated that the Maktab al-Khadamat was disbanded just after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan and bin Laden had established a new organization to continue the fight. The organization reportedly was called, “Al-Qaeda” and/or the “Islamic Army.”

Many however, dispute al-Fadl’s testimony as they argue two documents state that the organization was established in August of 1988. It is reported these two documents in question enclose minutes of meetings that were held to set up a new military group and contain the term ‘al-Qaeda.”