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The Proliferation of Terrorism Websites On the Internet

10:14 PM, Apr 22, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- You may use it to post pictures of your kids, or occasionally watch cute cat videos, but terrorist organizations are using the internet too - to spread their message and even train would-be recruits to maim and kill.

A week after the Boston Marathon bombing, we wanted to see how easy or difficult it might have been for brothers Dzokhar and Tamarlan Tsarnaev to use the internet to gain entry into a world of radical ideology.

Hints quickly emerge when you look at the brother's online profiles, starting with a video glorifying jihad, linked to by Boston bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev. 

Older brother Tamarlan created a YouTube account. Two videos under the heading "Terrorists" have since been deleted. But, what does that mean? 

The Department of Homeland Security says if you look back to 1998, there were 12 active terrorist websites. Today, there's more than 7,000. Then, there's blogs and magazines, most infamously Al Qaeda's Inspire. Add to that Twitter and Facebook, and you have a breeding ground for people on the cusp to turn to the other side. Or do you? Anti-Terrorism expert Larry Johnson says not so fast, "What happens is most of the recruitment particularly in the....ultra extremist Islamic movements comes though friends and family."

Johnson is a former CIA analyst. He says before you blame the relative ease of hopping online and accessing extreme messages, it takes someone bent on terrorism to take that next crucial step, like Tamarlan, "The internet's a tool that can provide a way to make connections. But it's not sufficient. You've got to take that step beyond. You've got to get the training, learn to build the bombs, learn to detonate them, learn to do operational things."

Still the question of how the two learned how to make the bomb remains. It's not tough to surmise, any quick internet search unfortunately delivers exactly that information.

 

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