Why America Is Losing The Online War With ISIS

Jeff Bardin is the Chief Intelligence Officer of cyber intelligence service Treadstone 71

Every month, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS, recruits up to 3,400 people via a well-organized and highly successful social media and online campaign. That’s 3,400 potential fighters or homegrown terrorists that are newly minted each month by the world’s most dangerous jihadist militant group.

Ironically, ISIS relies on Western technologies to recruit new extremists to join its cause, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, Google Groups, JustPaste.it, etc. Even more ironic, we’re not doing anything to stop them.

While the regional threat posed by ISIS is being taken seriously by the US and its allies, so much so that it’s launched a multinational coordinated air campaign against the jihadist militants, it is not giving the same level of priority to the group’s online recruitment efforts.

In fact, just as the air war ramps up, the online war is at a standstill.

Through its relative inaction, the intelligence community is essentially downplaying ISIS’s online recruitment success and the threats this poses to global security. Despite America’s leadership role in developing a military strategy to confront ISIS, there is as yet no serious effort underway to dismantle ISIS’s online operations and neutralize its network of recruiters targeting Muslim communities and disaffected youths in cities throughout North America, Europe, North Africa and the Middletown East.


One word: intelligence.

The US intelligence community (IC) is not disabling or degrading ISIS’s online operations and infrastructure because it wants to mine data on this group’s members. It is standard procedure for the intelligence community to use online networks in an attempt to collect data, identify and harvest contacts, infiltrate groups and, basically, embed itself like a tick in a terrorist infrastructure.

In some cases, this makes perfect sense – in the present one, it does not. ISIS presents one of the most serious threats we’ve faced in a very long time to the stability of the Mideast, as well as Turkey, and the domestic security of the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and many other countries. We simply cannot allow them open access to the Web to recruit thousands of additional martyrs.


For the past eight years, I’ve closely monitored the online activity of various jihadist groups in social media pages, chat groups, forums, etc. In — For more information read the original article here.    

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