— -- Adam Gadahn, the former Orange County, Calif., resident who's become known as al Qaeda's media director, resurfaced in a new video released on the Web today after nearly nine months of silence.
Looking thin but healthy, the young al Qaeda spokesman lashed out against escalating U.S. and Pakistani air strikes in tribal regions, where he and other top al Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding.
The tape appeared to be recently recorded, as Gadahn pointedly spoke about America's financial crisis, referring to "the escalating chaos and looming meltdown threatening the crusaders' economic system."
He references the current economic crisis twice in the video and concludes by saying, "My dear brothers and sisters, today the Muslims are on the verge of a historic victory against the imperialism and tyranny of the unbelievers, and the enemies of Islam are facing a crushing defeat which is beginning to manifest itself in the expanding crisis their economy is experiencing - a crisis whose primary cause, in addition to the abortive and unsustainable crusades they are waging in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq - is their turning their backs on Allah's revealed laws, which forbid interest-bearing transactions, exploitation, greed, and injustice in all its forms, and demand the worship of Allah alone to the exclusion of all false gods, including money and power."
The U.S. government has offered a reward of $1 million for information leading to Gadahn's capture. He is one of the top high-value al Qaeda leaders the U.S. and Pakistani governments have been hunting in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border regions, along with the equally elusive Ayman al- Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.
An increased number of airstrikes and the interruption in the previously frequent appearances of Gadahn on the Internet let to speculation that U.S. forces were closing in on Gadahn's location.
The tape also contains audio messages purported to be of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, but it was not clear if the messages were new or clips from previously released audio tapes.