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Tag: Social Media

Top FBI Counterterrorism Official: ‘We’re losing the battle’ with ISIS

Michael Steinbach

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI’s top counterterrorism official left no room for ambiguity about the frustrating battle to stop ISIS’ aggressive social media campaign: “We are losing the battle,” ABC News reports.

The terror group “has proven dangerously competent like no other group before it at employing [online] tools for its nefarious strategy,” the head of the FBI’s counterterrorism division, Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, told lawmakers.

Steinbach said the FBI’s “counter narrative” is drowned out by “the sheer volume” of ISIS messaging online.

ISIS is finding success in recruiting radicalized Americans who feel “frustrated” that they can’t leave the U.S.

“So what they’re doing is … saying, ‘Hey, if you can’t come to Syria, do something in the U.S. or Western countries,’” Steinbach said.

 

Justice Department Threatens to Prosecute Supporters of ISIS on Social Media

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As ISIS turns more to social media to recruit future terrorists, the Justice Department made clear that it would prosecute people who help the extremists spread the message, The Daily Beast reports.

What remains unclear is where the government where draw the line between free speech and support of a terrorist group.

Intelligence experts say ISIS’ propaganda campaign, which includes posting beheading videos, has been at least partly effective.

John Carlin, the assistant attorney general for national security, said social media has provided “essentially a free form of communication that you can use to plot and plan.”

Other Stories of Interest


FBI: ISIS Is Recruiting Teenagers from U.S. to Join Widening Terror Campaign

American war reporter James Wright Foley was beheaded by ISIS.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The terrorist group, ISIS, is recruiting teenagers in the U.S. as part of a broadening campaign of violence, a top FBI official told CNN.

Michael Steinbach, head of the FBI’s counterterrorist division, said the teenagers are as young as 15. He said he “can’t speak with 100% certainty that individuals of that age group have not gotten over there successfully.”

Even parents are encouraging their children to join terror groups, he said.

“There are individuals out there who are inspired by the message of terrorist groups and they encourage family members, including their children, to follow that path,” he said.

ISIS also is recruiting women.

“The recruitment of women by ISIS is much more than we’ve ever seen by a terrorist organization,” he said. “We have seen everything from a female fighter — dedicated groups of women fighters — and those who have come over to support foreign fighters by marrying them.”

 

 

Who Tweeted a Bomb Threat That Triggered F-16 Jets to Escort Commercial Aircraft?

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is investigating a bomb threat made in a tweet that prompted the U.S. military to send F-16 fighter aircraft to escort two jets bound for Atlanta on Saturday, the Associated Press reports.

The threats involved a Southwest Airlines flight from Milwaukee and a Delta Air Lines flight from Portland, Oregon.

Authorities scoured the planes and found no evidence of bombs.

“We certainly take these types of threats seriously and we’re pursuing them aggressively,”Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen Emmett told The Associated Press on Sunday.

“We are continuing to pursue leads in the efforts to locate this individual,” he added.

The military dispatched the fighter jets after being alerted about the tweet.

Justice Department to Pay $134,000 to Woman After DEA Set Up Bogus Facebook Page

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A controversial tactic by federal investigators from the DEA to create a bogus Facebook page using real information from a suspect has turned into a $134,000 settlement for the woman targeted on the social media page, the Associated Press reports.

In the settlement with Sondra Arquiett, the DEA still did not admit wrongdoing.

The case has prompted the Justice Department to review how it handled the case and whether it was appropriate to set up a fake account.

“This settlement demonstrates that the government is mindful of its obligation to ensure the rights of third parties are not infringed upon in the course of its efforts to bring those who commit federal crimes to justice,” Richard Hartunian, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York, said in a statement.

“It also takes into account emerging personal privacy concerns in the age of social media, and represents a fair resolution of plaintiff’s claims,” he added.

FBI, Facebook Partner to Issue Amber Alerts to Social Media Users

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A lot more people are going to learn about missing children after the Justice Department created a partnership with Facebook to send AMBER alerts to its users, WJCL reports. 

A similar deal was reached with Bing.

Attorney General Eric Holder said this is a big step to finding more children before it’s too late.

“Protecting the well-being of our young people is a responsibility that falls to every American,” Holder said.  “Each of us can help by paying close attention to alerts that come in – and by making sure you are plugged into the AMBER Alert network via social media.  Remember: finding an abducted child and returning him or her to safety depends on a fast response.  The more vigilant citizens we have on the look-out, the better our chances of a quick recovery.”

The complete text of Holder’s message:

“At the Department of Justice, we are committed to ensuring the safety and security of everyone in this country – and especially our young people.  Over the last two decades, a key tool in this effort has been the AMBER Alert system – an early warning system that helps us find and return abducted children.”

“Since the first AMBER Alert system became operational in 1996, AMBER Alert’s strong network of law enforcement and transportation officials, broadcasters, private-sector representatives – and dedicated ordinary citizens – has helped to rescue and safely return more than 700 abducted children.  Just last month, two young children were recovered.  In one incident, a three-year-old boy who had been taken in a domestic dispute was used as a shield by his abductor.  In another, an infant just 20 days old was abducted by a carjacker.  Fortunately, with the help of the AMBER Alert system, both children were rescued unharmed.”

“Through radio announcements, highway signs, wireless notifications, and Web posts, AMBER Alerts are now capable of rapidly reaching millions of people across the country.  But we have a great deal more to do in order to ensure that we can spread the word about missing children as quickly and as widely as possible.”

“Today – as our nation observes National AMBER Alert Awareness Day – I am pleased to announce that we are making two vital additions to our innovative national partnerships in order to expand the reach of the AMBER Alert system.  Facebook, already an AMBER Alert partner, will now begin sending alerts, along with detailed information and photographs, to its members in designated search areas.  And the search engine Bing will begin allowing users to access AMBER Alerts through its online tools.  These cutting-edge tools are available as a result of agreements with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which coordinates our AMBER Alert distribution efforts.”

“Facebook’s geo-targeted alerts and Bing’s online broadcast tools will give AMBER Alerts an expanded social media and Internet presence – extending our web of child protection resources into new and critical areas.  I am grateful for their involvement, and for the participation of so many organizations and agencies that have helped to make the AMBER Alert system such an important public safety asset.  And I urge other companies and organizations to step forward and do their part by offering whatever assistance they can provide.”

“Protecting the well-being of our young people is a responsibility that falls to every American.  Each of us can help by paying close attention to alerts that come in – and by making sure you are plugged into the AMBER Alert network via social media.  Remember: finding an abducted child and returning him or her to safety depends on a fast response.  The more vigilant citizens we have on the look-out, the better our chances of a quick recovery.”

FBI Director James Comey Warns of Social Media Dangers During Jacksonville Visit

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

During a visit to the FBI’s Jacksonville field office, Director James Comey delivered a warning about social media.

“You have a feeling you’re safe and alone in your kitchen, when you’re actually out wandering all over the world,” Comey said about the availability of personal information on social media, First Coast News reports.

Comey said terrorists use social media to keep tabs on law enforcement and the military.

“We want to make sure, given these terrorists are bent on hurting people, especially those in uniform, that we are not communicating things that make it easy for them,” he said.

But Comey said he doesn’t “want to freak people out.”

“I just want them to be prudent,” he said.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson Worried about Lone Wolf Attacks

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson worries about the threat posed by lone wolf terrorists.

“We have to be vigilant against an independent actor here in the homeland who might choose to strike at any moment,” Johnson told CNN’s Barbara Starr in an interview at the Reagan National Defense Forum Sunday.

Homeland Security officials are finding less predictable recruitment patterns.

“Core al-Qaeda was a relatively traditional command and control structure where someone would be recruited, they train at an overseas camp and then they’d be sent to commit a terrorist attack,” Johnson said.

“The new phenomenon that I see that I’m very concerned about,” Johnson continued, “is somebody who has never met another member of that terrorist organization, never trained at one of the camps, who is simply inspired by the social media — the literature, the propaganda, the message — to commit an act of violence in this country.”

To effectively crack down on the lone wolfs, Johnson said local and star law enforcement have to be involved.

“I’ve made this a personal part of my agenda” he said, “by traveling to a lot of community-based organizations around the country, many of them Islamic based, and the dialogue is interesting.”

Other Stories of Interest