Terrorists have turned to Cyberspace, where the Internet can serve as their Base of Operations....
The extremist Islamic jihadists' use of the Internet and encrypted messages for their declared terror war base of operations is unacceptable and should not be protected under the guise of free speech rights and freedoms.
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"....al Qaeda has become the first guerrilla movement in history to migrate from physical space to cyberspace. With laptops and DVDs, in secret hideouts and at neighborhood Internet cafes, young code-writing jihadists have sought to replicate the training, communication, planning and preaching facilities they lost in Afghanistan with countless new locations on the Internet.
Prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, al Qaeda's physical and ideological center was Afghanistan. ....after the group lost its sanctuary in Nov. 2001, the movement came to rely on the Internet for fast, borderless communications and for planning attacks on Western interests.
In two video reports, experts on jihadists' use of the Web describe how al Qaeda and allied groups are using the Internet to recruit more fighters, spread their message and train their followers to commit acts of terror. Samples of terrorist manuals and screenshots of jihadist Web sites are also available.
Al Qaeda suicide bombers and ambush units in Iraq routinely depend on the Web for training and tactical support, relying on the Internet's anonymity and flexibility to operate with near impunity in cyberspace. In Qatar, Egypt and Europe, cells affiliated with al Qaeda have recently carried out or seriously planned bombings have relied heavily on the Internet.
Such cases have led Western intelligence agencies and outside terrorism specialists to conclude that the "global jihad movement," sometimes led by al Qaeda fugitives but increasingly made up of diverse "groups and ad hoc cells," has become a "Web-directed" phenomenon.... Hampered by the nature of the Internet itself, the government has proven ineffective at blocking or even hindering significantly this vast online presence.
Among other things, al Qaeda and its offshoots are building a massive and dynamic online library of training materials -- some supported by experts who answer questions on message boards or in chat rooms -- covering such varied subjects as how to mix ricin poison, how to make a bomb from commercial chemicals, how to pose as a fisherman and sneak through Syria into Iraq, how to shoot at a U.S. soldier, and how to navigate by the stars while running through a night-shrouded desert. These materials are cascading across the Web in Arabic, Urdu, Pashto and other first languages of jihadist volunteers....
The Saudi Arabian branch of al Qaeda launched an online magazine in 2004 that exhorted potential recruits to use the Internet....
"Biological Weapons" was the stark title of a 15-page Arabic language document posted two months ago on the Web site of al Qaeda fugitive leader Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, one of the jihadist movement's most important propagandists, often referred to by the nom de guerre Abu Musab Suri....
Al Qaeda's innovation on the Web "erodes the ability of our security services to hit them when they're most vulnerable, when they're moving," said Michael Scheuer, former chief of the CIA unit that tracked bin Laden. [Now] everything is posted on the Web or "can be sent ahead by encrypted Internet, and it gets lost in the billions of messages that are out there."
The number of active jihadist-related Web sites has metastasized since Sept. 11, 2001.... "They are all linked indirectly through association of belief, belonging to some community. The Internet is the network that connects them all," Weimann said. "You can see the virtual community come alive...."
Through continuous online contact, such communities bind dispersed individuals with intense beliefs who might never have met one another in the past...."