"We will continue with similar operations and we do not mind at all in this stage if they are intercepted," one article said. "It is such a good bargain for us to spread fear amongst the enemy … in exchange for a few months of work and few thousand bucks."
The magazine cover shows a blurred photo of a United Parcel Service plane and the sum $4,200 in large type — the supposed cost of the failed plot.
An article inside breaks down the bombers' budget: "Two Nokia phones, $150 each, two HP printers, $300 each, plus shipping, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses."
Photos show the LaserJet cartridges used in the plot as well as a torn copy of Charles Dickens' novel "Great Expectations," which was packed in one of the parcels. The title was chosen, the author explained, because "we were very optimistic about the outcome of this operation."
While Bin Laden's core Al Qaeda group traditionally has emphasized multiple simultaneous attacks for maximum impact, the 2-year-old Yemeni affiliate has embraced smaller scale and lone-wolf attacks that are cheaper to sponsor and more difficult to detect.
By publishing easy-to-read technical guides in English, Inspire says its goal is for wannabe bombers to "train at home instead of risking a dangerous travel" to terrorist training camps in remote Afghanistan, Pakistan or elsewhere.
The tactic poses some risk to Al Qaeda too. The instructions gave valuable tips to law enforcement and intelligence officials on how terrorists encrypt their e-mail, evade metal detectors and defeat other security systems.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst, said the latest magazine mostly shows that Al Qaeda is a spent force that is trying to make the best of a failed attack.
"This is spin worthy of a Washington pundit," he said. "I think they're trying to maintain their image of being a ferocious, deadly organization. But at the end of the day, they just showed they were incompetent."