Al Jazeera reported today that Al Qaeda has appointed an Egyptian “militant” — Saif al-Adel — as its “temporary leader” following the execution of Osama bin Laden by US special forces. The report got a lot of play in the press. It is probably not true.
US intelligence officials and their counter-parts in Pakistan are saying on background that Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s long-time second-in-command, remains the de facto leader of Al Qaeda and that the announcement of al-Adel’s accession is disinformation.
CBS News has a well-sourced report on this, which you can read here. Al Qaeda appears to be in some disarray following bin-Laden’s death. Reports that the US retrieved a vast treasure of digital information from Osama bin Laden’s computer files have caused many of the terrorist organisation’s key operatives to run for cover.