The Anti-Terrorism Caucus will give Congress the tools and resources it needs to communicate those threats to the public, as well as help them make more informed decisions when it comes to terrorist issues.”
As we confront radical Islamic threats, we need to be aware that terrorists are using the Internet to raise funds, recruit, train, organize, mine data, share information, and plan attacks. We have learned that six jihadists used the Internet to plot to kill U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J. The Justice Department reported the six men were learning how to make grenades and conduct terrorist acts via the Internet. This is becoming a common practice.
Thousands of jihadists from all over the world are setting up Web sites and chat rooms and teaching others how to use the Internet to create terror cells in their area. These terrorists are technologically savvy and are very successful in using the Internet to achieve their goals. The U.S. has stepped up its cyber terrorism divisions since 9-11, but we are still far behind the terrorists when it comes to the Internet.
They seem to always be one step ahead of our intelligence agencies and we can rarely locate and break up their communications. Terrorists on the Internet also use American privacy laws against the FBI and CIA. A terrorist in Pakistan can set up a Web site on a U.S. server and would be considered a U.S. entity under our privacy laws. This prevents our intelligence services from monitoring activities on these types of radical Islamist Web sites.
Terrorists frustrate our intelligence agencies because they use Internet techniques that can't be easily traced. They use encrypted messages in places like chat rooms that require passwords to read their communications. Multiple terrorists will use the same e-mail account so they can write and save draft messages to each other without sending an e-mail that can be traced. They are sending training and recruitment videos over Japanese video game Web sites because the traffic and file sizes are so large, intelligence officers cannot easily differentiate jihadist files from regular video game files.
They post pornographic sites as the front to their Web sites because they know government workers are forbidden to access pornographic Web sites and therefore cannot go further to access their actual Web site. Terrorists also use our Web sites against us. They can hack a Web site and post up information to their group's members just long enough to get their message out, and then will take it down before intelligence officers catch on. They also search through American Web sites to look for information on American military tactics, military armor specifications, and structural information on potential targets here in America.
The results have been disastrous as they have learned what weapons are most effective against our armor, how to best attack specific military formations, and how to take out targets as they did on Sept. 11. We must not allow the Internet to be a safe haven for terrorists. In order to shut down jihadists on the Internet, our laws need to be brought into the 21st century. We must amend our laws so our intelligence services can monitor foreign users hosting their Web sites on U.S. servers if there is just cause.
We need to make sure our laws are updated to the same speed as the advances in technology. We also need to add more tech savvy intelligence officers, who have a background in Arabic languages, to the CIA and FBI. Above all, all Americans need to be aware of what terrorists are doing on the Internet. We all need to educate ourselves on the threats we face so that we can protect ourselves against them. Only by being aware, can we face this threat and cripple the terrorist's ability to harm us.