NR: "al Qaeda in Iraq today is under more pressure than it ever was before."
Brianna Keilar talks with Michael as an intro to tonight's special report.
BRIANNA KEILAR: Five years into the Iraq war, you've never seen the inner workings of al Qaeda as you will tonight on "AC 360." This is a story from CNN's Michael Ware. We're going to chat with him in just a second. But first, let's get a sneak peak at his exclusive snapshot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): al Qaeda gunmen brought this man here to die. Staged for maximum impact, he's to be executed on this busy market street. We don't know why; the al Qaeda members who recorded this tape offer no explanation. But the anticipation is agonizing, leading to a moment we cannot show you.
A punishment for betraying al Qaeda or for breaking their strict version of Islamic law. Either way, it was public executions like this that would help lead to the unraveling of al Qaeda in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Michael Ware is live in Baghdad, with more on the story that you're only going to see on CNN.
Michael, this is the kind of -- you see these pictures and it makes your heart pound.
WARE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, those moments truly are as we say in the story, agonizing. And now, what you saw in that brief snapshot from inside al Qaeda in Iraq, is what was happening across much of this country over the past few years.
Now, al Qaeda in Iraq today is under more pressure than it ever was before. This is a snapshot of al Qaeda at its peak here in this country. The war in Iraq is now about a competition between Washington and Tehran, for influence. But al Qaeda is still out there. And in these hard drives, that had thousands upon thousands of documents from al Qaeda's internal correspondence, hours upon hours of videos, uncut, shot by al Qaeda. We learned about how al Qaeda operates today.
It's far more sophisticated, far more bureaucratic, far more organized and far more led by Iraqis than foreigners, despite what the White House says, than many had ever feared before -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Why is it so important that people get this sort of unfiltered look, Michael?
WARE: This gives you a window into not just one of America's enemies here in Iraq, who, like I said, whilst under intense pressure -- because America now has about 100,000 former insurgents and former members of al Qaeda itself, on the U.S. government payroll. And these men have been conducting an effective assassination program against al Qaeda. This is but one of the enemies here in Iraq.
But through the prism of al Qaeda in Iraq and the way you see that they work, in a sense that the public has never experienced before. Only members of al Qaeda or members of the intelligence services have ever seen anything like this, you get a window of the broader al Qaeda. This is how Osama bin Laden's most sophisticated elements of his network operate and we see that best here in Iraq -- Brianna
KEILAR: Michael Ware, In Baghdad. Thank you for the preview.
And you can check out the entirety tonight at 10:00 Eastern. The entirety of this report. CNN unveils what the U.S. military believes to be one of the largest collections of these internal al Qaeda in Iraq documents ever discovered.
Both the videos and the documents giving fascinating insight into the terror group's inner workings. "AC 360," deciphers what it all means for the future of al Qaeda in Iraq. And again, that's on "AC 360," tonight at 10 Eastern, right here on CNN.