Sunday, September 27, 2009

FBI Targets Online Extremists

The recent spate of arrests of terror suspects is based in part on excellent investigative work done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to media reports, the FBI is doing an excellent job of monitoring online extremists message boards and chat rooms for signs of pending terrorist attacks.

The arrest of Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian citizen who planned on bombing the 60-story Fountain Place building in Dallas, Texas. According to reports,
Smadi stood out to federal authorities in an online group for extremists because of his repeated remarks that he wanted to commit a violent jihad, or a holy war, against the United States.
Federal officials began speaking with Smadi in March after finding him on an online group for extremist.

Posing as al-Qaida members and speaking Arabic, undercover agents began to probe Smadi for more details of his plans. Slowly, he began to provide them details and ideas to carry out his plan.
We will discuss this case and others later in the semester as we analyze how terrorist groups or using the Internet to communicate and coordinate their activities to like minded extremists. We will also discuss how to conduct online investigations of terrorist suspects.


Tristan said...

Somewhat related, I found my name on the Church of Satan website.
I doubt that's as big of a red flag as an al-Qaeda chat room though.

J.D. Abolins said...

Thanks for the post. You are covering a very interesting and good topic in your class.

Will you also be looking at some of the non-LE/intell efforts at tracking online extremists? SoFIR/Internet Haganah is a good example of such efforts.