Adam Yahiye Gadahn (Arabic: آدم يحيى غدن, Ādam Yaḥyā Ghadan; born Adam Pearlman, September 1, 1978) is an American senior operative, cultural interpreter, spokesman and media advisor for the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. Since 2004, he appeared in a number of videos produced by Al-Qaeda as "Azzam the American" ('Azzām al-Amrīki, عزام الأمريكي, sometimes transcribed as Ezzam Al-Amerikee). Gadahn converted to Sunni Islam in 1995, at the age of 17, at a California mosque and is described as a "homegrown", meaning that he has converted to an ideology so firmly that he is now willing to harm his country of origin. He is believed to have inspired the 2007 Osama bin Laden video.
In 2004, he was added to the FBI Seeking Information – War on Terrorism list. On October 11, 2006 he was removed from that list, and placed on the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Rewards for Justice Program list of wanted criminals. On the same day, Gadahn was indicted based on the testimony of the FBI case agent E.J. Hilbert II, in the Southern Division of the United States District Court for the Central District of California by a federal grand jury for the capital crime of treason for aiding an enemy of the United States (i.e. Al-Qaeda). Gadahn is the first American charged with treason since Tomoya Kawakita in 1952.
Gadahn was born Adam Pearlman, the son of musician Phil Pearlman. Gadahn's Jewish paternal grandfather, Carl Pearlman, was a prominent urologist; and on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League. According to Gadahn, he was a "zealous supporter" of Israel. Gadahn's paternal grandmother, Agnes Branch, a Christian, was an editor for The Chronicle Christian Newspaper. Gadahn's father, originally Phil Pearlman, grew up in Orange County, California. He was involved in the counterculture movement at the University of California at Irvine, and before Adam's birth became a Christian. Gadahn described his father as having been "raised agnostic or atheist, but he became a believer in One God when he picked up a Bible left on the beach.” His father's religious perspective was flexible and based upon his own spiritual needs and as a new convert to Islam, Gadahn portrayed his father in manner sympathetic to his religion of conversion. Phil and his wife Jennifer changed their name to Gadahn, after the Biblical warrior Gideon.