Is the term "Al Qaeda" made up by the CIA or the FBI? (Tweet of a colleague, citing Adam Curtis' documentary "The Power of Nightmares")
Even OBL hadn't heard the name "Al Qaeda" until the FBI/CIA decided it needed a name.
Alternatively, I've heard that it really means The Database
Shortly before his untimely death, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that "Al Qaeda" is not really a terrorist group but a database of international mujaheddin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and Saudis to funnel guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Courtesy of World Affairs, a journal based in New Delhi, WMR can bring you an important excerpt from an Apr.-Jun. 2004 article by Pierre-Henry Bunel, a former agent for French military intelligence.