TODAY   |  September 24, 2013

Expert: Use of American terrorists 'significant'

NBC Terror Analyst Roger Cressey says that the Somali terror cell al-Shabaab could be using Americans in the Westgate mall attack to create “broad international appeal” that could increase donations to their organization.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> let's turn to roger who was a member of the national security counsel and worked in somalia shortly before the black hawk down incident. he is now a terrorism expert. good to see you.

>> good to see you, savannah.

>> we heard americans are among the attackers. how much stock do you put in those claims? do you see it as credible?

>> it's certainly credible. the u.s. government is going to pass judgment until they had a chance to confirm identity. if it proves to be true then it's very significant because al-shabab has not used werners and americans in an attack up to this point.

>> it would be strategic but would it be significant symbolically. would it be a propaganda victory if they were able to say we had americans among the perpetrators here?

>> well it's interesting. they were all about trying to create the islamic state inside somalia and have been defeated from obtaining that objective and now are they looking just to conduct attacks inside somalia but also outside against the governments that supported anti-shabaab forces. it's a broad international appeal if this is true and true a source of potential revenue. outside d outside do donators will give money because you believe they demonstrated capability.