A Web site used by a Somali jihadist group that has been tied to a suspected terrorist from Daphne was hosted by an Internet company based in the United States, according to a private investigator.
Bill Warner, an investigator from Sarasota, Fla., who tried to shut down a number of Web sites linked to extremist groups, said he first targeted an al-Shabaab Web site in May 2008 after the U.S. government labeled it a terrorist organization. Dotster Inc. of Vancouver, Wash., took the Web site down in January, Warner said, after an order from the federal government.
Warner said he has run a detective agency for 15 years and has been trying to shut down terrorist Web sites -- on his own time without pay -- since 2003. When watching an April 2007 al-Shabaab Web posting, he said, he was particularly intrigued by one of the men on the Web site, a fair-skinned man, who stood apart from the Somali fighters.
That man went by the name Abu Mansour al-Amriki. Fox News reported last week that his true identity is Omar Hammami and that he faces a secret indictment in Mobile's federal court on a charge of providing material support to terrorists.
Hammami, 25, attended Daphne High School and the University of South Alabama. Warner said news reports of Hammami's past as a computer science student confirmed his suspicions that al-Amriki had provided technical assistance to al-Shabaab.
At that time, I suspected he was involved with setting up the Web site," he said. "It appears Omar, with his background, is the perfect guy to set this up for them." Rick Schwein, the assistant special agent in charge of counter-terrorism efforts at the Mobile office of the FBI, said he could not comment on a specific case. In general, he said, the bureau works within the constraints of the law to take down Web sites that lure recruits and coordinate terrorist activity. "It's something that is of great concern to us," he said.
Warner said federal investigators often do not want to tip their hand by moving on a Web site before they have mined it for intelligence. Foreign terrorist groups prefer to use American Web-hosting companies because the larger bandwidth they use allows higher-quality video postings.
Newspapers in Phoenix and Tampa, Fla., reported that Web hosting companies in their cities took down jihadist Web sites after Warner pointed them out in early 2008. But officials at Dotster, which hosted the al-Shabaab site at www.kataaib.net , initially resisted Warner's efforts, he said. "It was blatantly recruiting suicide bombers," Bill Warner said. More.............