July 6, 2011
The boss of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the main successor of the KGB during the Soviet era, told the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency that global terrorists are actively integrating with new media.
“The activity of many terrorist organizations is being carried out independently from al Qaeda and bin Laden. Their leaders actively use media and internet to publicize themselves,” Alexander Bortnikov told a meeting of security service chiefs, the Russian news agency reports.
Bortnikov said “the internet is a universal tool for terrorist to attract, recruit and teach new members as well as to plan and coordinate terrorist activity.”
According to Bortnikov, the prevention of terrorist-related activity coming from the internet is being included into the agenda of FSB meetings over the next three years.
Although details were not provided, we can assume the Russian state will take a more active role in closing down websites and internet connectivity to groups and individuals it considers terrorists.
Bortniknov’s concern was underscored by Michael Leiter, director of the National Counter-terrorism Center. Leiter said earlier this week that it is important for the government to attack and disrupt the activity of homegrown terrorists on the internet. He said views on the First Amendment and privacy will “evolve” as Americans understand the threat of terrorist propaganda transmitted over the internet.
In June, the Pentagon used the red herring of terrorist attacking subways, electrical grids, financial systems and even nuclear reactors to push its plan to actively attack hackers and others the government deems terrorists.
In 2003, the Pentagon designated the internet an enemy “weapons system.”
The Russian effort follows similar efforts in the United States by several years. In June of 2010, the Department of Homeland Security secretary, Janet Napolitano, admitted the government is actively surveilling the internet for domestic terrorists. Napolitano said the government will sacrifice civil liberties in the name of national security.
“The First Amendment protects radical opinions, but we need the legal tools to do things like monitor the recruitment of terrorists via the Internet,” Napolitano told a gathering of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.
Following the MIAC report and the Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment, the Department of Homeland Security compiled a report leaked to the media in 2009 warning that “rightwing extremism” posed a serious threat to the nation. “Rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat,” the report sent to police agencies around the country claimed.
Commentators on the so-called right claimed the report was the product of leftists in the Obama administration. The DHS report, however, was initiated during the Bush years.
“In the Internet age, these extremists can communicate with thousands of their compatriots with the click of a mouse,” the ADL writes. “The Internet has provided the far-right fringe with formerly inconceivable opportunities. Online, racists, anti-Semites, and anti-government extremists can reach a much larger audience than ever before and can more easily portray themselves as legitimate.”
In 2009, Napolitano admitted the DHS works closely with the ADL.
The “rightwing extremism” report and the agency’s partnership with the ideologically driven ADL indicate the government is not strictly interested in al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization named after a database of CIA-supported Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, but also intends to monitor domestic groups and individuals considered to be terrorists by the government.
The ADL considers Alex Jones, Stewart Rhodes and the Oath Keepers, and other activists, organizers, and patriot and constitutionalist groups and individuals to be terrorists or potential terrorists.
Considering the close relationship between the ADL and the government, we can fairly assume the DHS, the FBI, Pentagon, and the federal government also believe “rightwing” Americans are a threat to the national security of the United States.