Jihadists are increasingly turning to social media sites to exchange ideas and publicize their beliefs, according to a new report (.pdf) from the New America Foundation. "It is only a matter of time before terrorists begin routinely using Twitter, Instagram, and other services in ongoing operations."
The conviction of a 21-year-old Oregon resident who tried to detonate what he thought was a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony has renewed controversy over the FBI's sting operations. The FBI says it's being proactive--as an article published last year in its monthly bulletin put it, "it no longer proves sufficient to solve crimes after people have committed them."
Al Shabaab has used Twitter largely to promote its preferred narrative of world events, research out of the University of Maryland says. The university's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism released interim findings (.pdf) about the group's use of Twitter shortly after the website suspended al-Shabaab's account, @HSMPress, on Jan. 25.
Reducing the use of the Internet by terrorists requires a public-private approach to the problem, according to a report (.pdf) published this month by the European Union-funded Clean IT project. Towards that end, the report recommends 13 best practices that could reduce terrorist use of the Internet in the EU, including several technology-based solutions such as flagging mechanisms and an end-user browser mechanism.
Mali is in danger of becoming a terrorist safe haven, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Jan. 23 during testimony before separate House and Senate international relations committee hearings. "If you look at the size of northern Mali, if you look at the topography, it's not only desert, it's caves--sounds reminiscent. We are in for a struggle."
Nearly half of terrorists crossing into the United States to perform violent acts or making an escape from the country afterward were American citizens, and a significant percentage were Canadians, finds a Homeland Security Department-funded study.
In case of a terrorist attack on the electric grid, the Homeland Security Department should develop a national inventory of portable generator equipment, the National Research Council says in a newly released report. The NRC completed the report in 2007, but DHS classified the report in its entirety. The NRC pushed for its release, and DHS reversed its decision this past August.
A false analogy between guerrilla warfare and terrorism could explain why terrorists persist in their activities despite evidence that attacking civilians is counterproductive to political goals, argues a paper in the new edition of Perspectives on Terrorism.
Al Qaeda is no longer a significant threat to the United States, the New America Foundation's Peter Bergen argued at a debate the foundation held Oct. 16. Bergen, who directs New America's national security studies program and is CNN's national security analyst, has spent much of his career studying al Qaeda. He said the threat of jihadist terrorism isn't over, but that al Qaeda is no longer capable of achieving its basic goal--to mount large-scale terrorist attacks in the United States.
The FBI arrested Oct. 17 Bangladeshi national Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda.