A video newscast, alleging to be an al Qaeda production, was broadcast over the Internet for the first time this week. Although it lacks the trademarks of the usual al Qaeda productions, the broadcast – called the "Voice of the Caliphate," a reference to the 7th century Islamic Empire – is still a potentially powerful propaganda tool.
"Welcome to your program, the week's news of a nation," begins the anchorman, who wears a black ski mask. A Koran sits to his left while a weapon secured on a tripod stands to his right.
The masked anchorman talks about the Israeli pullout from Gaza. He also shows several minutes of footage purporting to show Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. bases with chemical weapons. The U.S. military says it is not aware of any such chemical attack.
Although U.S. officials say they do not know who produced the Internet newscast, they are closely studying it.
"These communications, whether it's video done in a newscast format or other produced videos, give us valuable insight into where they are focused at this point in time," explains Venzke.
The newscast includes what it calls a commercial break for a film called "Total Jihad." It closes with a story about Hurricane Katrina.
"We hope for God to humiliate America through this hurricane," the masked anchorman says, before the "Voice of the Caliphate" signs off.
ABC News' David Scott, Hoda Osman and Avni Patel contributed to this report.