Gadahn, a 32-year-old California native, was born Adam Pearlman, the grandson of a Jewish urologist. His parents changed their name to Gadahn after becoming fundamentalist Christians. After converting to Islam, Gadahn moved to Pakistan in 1998 and then became a senior commander in al Qaeda.
Gadahn has appeared in numerous al Qaeda videos over the past seven years. In 2005, after terror attacks in Madrid and London, he said, "Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing." He is currently considered al Qaeda's leading media strategist, and has been on the FBI's Most Wanted list for nearly 10 years. He has been reported dead or captured several times, only to reemerge alive.