by John Hawkins | October 16, 2007 3:15 am
Jihadists who use American hosts to run their websites? I’m all for it. For example, take this guy,
When Osama bin Laden issued his videotaped message to the American people last month, a young jihad enthusiast went online to help spread the word.
“America needs to listen to Shaykh Usaamah very carefully and take his message with great seriousness,” he wrote on his blog. “America is known to be a people of arrogance.”
Unlike Mr. bin Laden, the blogger was not operating from a remote location. It turns out he is a 21-year-old American named Samir Khan who produces his blog from his parents’ home in North Carolina, where he serves as a kind of Western relay station for the multimedia productions of violent Islamic groups.
In recent days, he has featured “glad tidings” from a North African militant leader whose group killed 31 Algerian troops. He posted a scholarly treatise arguing for violent jihad, translated into English. He listed hundreds of links to secret sites from which his readers could obtain the latest blood-drenched insurgent videos from Iraq.
…Among those who posted a link to the YouTube version was Mr. Khan, the North Carolina blogger who said he was struck by the simplicity in the messages of both Al Qaeda and Malcolm X. “They are geniuses for having the ability to mold their ideology into simple yet influential messages that can reach the grass-roots level,” he said.
Mr. Khan produces his blog anonymously, but was identified by The Times through the e-mail account he used in previous online discussions. (Pictures he had posted online helped The Times distinguish him from another, unrelated North Carolina resident, about 10 years older, who has the same name.)
In an interview at a local mosque, where he sat on a prayer rug wearing a traditional Arabic robe, Mr. Khan traced his increasing militancy.
His blog has attracted enough notoriety that vigilante groups opposed to jihadi sites have gotten him shut down a few times in recent months. He said he was somewhat surprised he had not been confronted by government authorities, although, he said, “I’ve never told anybody to build bombs.”
Every so often, I get emails from people asking me to help expose some jihadi who’s on American servers — but I got to tell you, it is great news when terrorists or terrorist sympathizers are hosted on American websites.
Know why? I got three words for you: The Patriot Act.
Let me tell you how it works. Joe Jihadi sets up his website on an American host and talks up Al-Qaeda, admits to engaging in Jihad activities, invites other radicals to post on his website.
Somebody sees Joe’s website, gets alarmed, and informs the FBI.
Next thing you know, the FBI is talking with the guy’s ISP and getting all sorts of information about Joe and Joe’s website. Soon, they have Joe’s email address, home address, phone number, and the IP addresses of everyone hitting Joe’s website.
Next thing you know, they’ve put all the info into a database, they’re listening to Joe’s phone calls, they’re reading his email and then, Bam, Joe’s getting a phone call from Muhammed Bin Hussein, Jr., who is thought to be in an Al-Qaeda cell. Next thing you know, they’re tapping his phone, reading his email, and continuing to data mine.
Then, they notice that Joe Jihadi and Muhammed Bin Hussein are both talking to Muhammad Arafat. Joe says something suspicious to him, and they get a warrant and now they’re reading Arafat’s emails and listening to his calls.
Six months — and a lot of data mining later — they’re monitoring 50 people, have thwarted two terrorist plots, and they’ve caught on to three terrorist cells.
Why? Because some jihadi is hosted with an American company instead of in a foreign country, where we’d have much more trouble getting at the data.
So, be happy when the bad guys are hosted in America — it works to our advantage.
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