When five of the most trafficked Islamic jihadist websites went down in late March and into April, it derailed Al-Qaeda’s ability to communicate and post information to supporters.
The Internet is a vital tool for terrorists to spread propaganda around the world, share instructions on how to build bombs, and even raise money, all the while staying relatively anonymous.
So when the sites go down for an extended period of time it’s a major setback in their pursuit of global Jihad. Not only does it cut off communication, it gives the international community the impression that they’re behind in Internet technology.
American authorities and other western governments have denied any involvement, even though they would seem to have the most incentive to shut down the sites. However, monitoring Al-Qaeda’s online communication gives the American military insight into the psyche and technical ability of terrorists- information that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
For insight into the coded world of cyber attacks, Christiane speaks with the foremost authority on the topic, former Counter Terrorism Czar under the Bush and Clinton Administrations, Richard Clark.