Suspected Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators that he and his brother learned how to make a pressure cooker bomb from the al Qaeda magazine Inspire.
When the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz and the Daily Beast’s Eli Lake suggested this connection last week, some leading pundits on the left mocked the idea.
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Gertz and Lake both mentioned that al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine ran an article in 2010 outlining how a pressure cooker bomb could be constructed. Gertz wrote:
An al Qaeda magazine in 2010 directed terrorists to use kitchen materials to make bombs, including pressure cooking bombs.
Lake went into more detail on the article, but qualified his report:
The pressure cooker component is far from definitive proof that Monday’s attack was committed associates of al Qaeda.
Mentioning that Inspire magazine produced a how-to guide on building a pressure cooker bomb drove some liberal commentators to push back against any connection.
Yair Rosenberg, a writer for Tablet magazine, took to Twitter to suggest The Anarchist’s Cookbook as a possible source of inspiration to the bombers:
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) April 16, 2013
Max Fisher at the Washington Post cited Rosenberg’s tweet to refute any al Qaeda connection, but had to go as far back as 1976 for an example of when The Anarchist’s Cookbook was used in this way:
The Anarchist’s Cookbook, published in 1971, also included information on how to make them. The book appears to have provided the necessary instruction for at least one such bombing, in 1976.
Peter Hart at the media watch group Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting directly attacked Lake’s article, using Fisher’s Washington Post article:
The news that the Boston Marathon bombs used conventional pressure cookers led to a flurry of coverage suggesting that this was perhaps a link to Al-Qaeda inspired jihadists. … Sounds like an open-and-shut case–if you ignore four decades of domestic history, that is.
Ali Gharib, a writer for the left-wing Think Progress, was the most direct critic, tweeting to Lake:
Gharib then turned to mockery:
@adamweinstein WHAT?!? People made pressure cooker bombs before the 2010 issue of Inspire?!?!?
— Ali Gharib (@Ali_Gharib) April 16, 2013