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Separatist, Para-military, Military,
Intelligence, and Political Organizations

Organizations Using the Internet

United States

Current advisory levels:
Bert and Ernie Terror Alert Level Aqua Teen Hunger Force Terror Alert Level
Homeland stupidity threat level:
Homeland Stupidity Threat Level
Current Earth-Destruction Status

On 3 May 2007, the leaders of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs made an announcement about the increasing use of the Internet by extremists for recruitment, organization, training, fund-raising, planning, and more. There was a hearing titled "The Internet, A Portal to Violent Islamist Extremism", see these links about the hearing:

Michael Doran, a deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Defense, said: "The more than just a tool of terrorist organizations. It is the primary repository of the essential resources for sustaining the culture of terrorism."

Several years ago the "terrorist web pages" were largely pages maintained by people who were advocates of the groups and their causes, but they weren't directly used by the groups themselves. But since the early 2000s terrorist organizations have used password-protected bulletin boards to plan and coordinate. Many sites with gruesome videos are used for both recruiting and propaganda.

Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, and Gregory Saathoff, executive director of the Critical Security Policy Institute at the University of Virginia, co-authored a report detailing the use of the Internet by radical groups.

The Senate committee asked how to respond, and according to a c|net article,

   "The government officials declined to comment on specific tactics in a public hearing. They repeatedly said the answer to dealing with what they deemed a serious threat lies in a combination of approaches: using technical measures to shut down sites deemed particularly threatening may sometimes be worthwhile, but it's often more prudent to allow sites to remain active for intelligence-gathering purposes.
   "We can monitor them to follow the networks and assess their operational capacity," said Lt. Col. Joseph Felter, director of the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy. "We can sabotage them by infiltrating their networks and flooding the Web with bogus information."
   Some suggested another approach would be to attempt to introduce a "counternarrative" on the sites: that is, to find ways to "amplify" the voices of movement members who express skepticism about the terrorist plans, in hopes of discrediting them from within.
   "What we can do is get people who are versed in the Koran, we can get people who are versed in the culture, to be able to identify how these ideas are just flat wrong," Cilluffo said."

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