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The Cyber Jihad Continues Unabated

The U.S. still needs a plan to counter jihadist web sites.

12:50 PM, Sep 30, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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One last point is worth mentioning. When I’ve broached this topic with current and former intelligence officials in the past, they’ve been quick to argue that the sites in question are a useful source of intelligence about the terror network’s inner-workings. Shutting them down, therefore, would impede our intelligence collection. That is probably true in some cases, and U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly even dabbled in setting up phony sites as a diversion and collection device.

On net, though, it is hard to argue that the intelligence benefit of these sites outweighs the cost. And I find it hard to believe that our monitoring capability is all that good.

After all, it appears that at least one recruit, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was able to post on Anwar al Awlaki’s Facebook page prior to committing a terrorist attack without anyone noticing.   

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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