DOD takes aim at jihadist Web sites

The number of such sites is now estimated to be in the thousands

Pentagon officials may be mum publicly about efforts to halt the spread of jihadist Web sites, but military and other intelligence agency officials say privately they are trying to limit the online recruiting and information dissemination efforts of militant Islamist groups.

A spokeswoman for the new Air Force Cyberspace Command declined to say whether the issue is on the command’s agenda, but Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne seems to be looking to the command for solutions. "The pervasive nature of pro-jihad Web sites represents a tangible and highly visible example of how our adversaries use elements of cyberspace against us,” he wrote in an article for the spring 2007 issue of the service publication Air & Space Power Journal.

Web sites aimed at attracting new generations of Islamic militants have multiplied steadily in recent years, and their number is now estimated to be in the thousands. Although tech-savvy extremists are known to attack Western computer networks through hacking and other means, many experts consider the silent spread of easy-to-set-up anti-American propaganda Web sites more dangerous because the military finds it difficult to stop. 

Information about concerted efforts by the Pentagon or other government agencies to fight the spread of Islamic anti-Western propaganda sites is difficult to obtain because most activities fall into the realm of secret intelligence operations.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, the incoming Army chief information officer, said the CIO’s office is only marginally involved in fighting Islamic extremist propaganda Web sites. He said others in the government, such as the Army’s intelligence branch and the National Security Agency, take a more active role.

Naval Postgraduate School professor John Arquilla, an adviser to the Pentagon on information operations and electronic warfare, would speak only in general terms about the military’s activities.

According to the school’s Web site, Arquilla is working for Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England on a classified study of deception operations against terrorist networks.

Arquilla said he works toward two goals:  discovering methods to exploit the widespread Internet use among militants Islamists and finding ways to deter extremists from using the Web if their activities in cyberspace cannot be exploited.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group