WASHINGTON — Al-Qaida supporters suggested in a Web site message this week they would welcome a pre-election terror attack on the U.S. as a way to usher in a McCain presidency.
The message, posted Monday on the password-protected al-Hesbah Web site, said if al-Qaida wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, "impetuous" Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This requires presence of an impetuous American leader such as McCain, who pledged to continue the war till the last American soldier," the message said. "Then, al-Qaida will have to support McCain in the coming elections so that he continues the failing march of his predecessor, Bush."
SITE Intelligence Group, based in Bethesda, Md., monitors the Web site and translated the message.
"If al-Qaida carries out a big operation against American interests," the message said, "this act will be support of McCain because it will push the Americans deliberately to vote for McCain so that he takes revenge for them against al-Qaida. Al-Qaida then will succeed in exhausting America till its last year in it."
Mark Salter, a senior McCain adviser, said he had heard about the Web site chatter but had no immediate comment.
The message is credited to a frequent and apparently respected contributor named Muhammad Haafid. However, Haafid is not believed to have a direct affiliation with al-Qaida plans or knowledge of its operations, according to SITE.
SITE senior analyst Adam Raisman said this message caught SITE's attention because there has been little other chatter on the forums about the U.S. election.
SITE was struck by the message's detailed analysis _ and apparent jubilation _ about American financial woes.
"What we try to do is get the pulse of the jihadist community," Raisman said. "And it's about the financial crisis."
Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden issued a videotape just four days before the 2004 U.S. presidential election directly addressing the American people.