and the Internet are related in two ways. First, the Internet
has become a forum for terrorist groups and individual terrorists
both to spread their messages of hate and violence and to communicate
with one another and with sympathizers. Secondly, individuals
and groups have tried to attack computer networks, including
those on the Internet what has become known as cyberterrorism
point, terrorists are using the Internet more than they are
attacking it. At least 12 of the 30 groups on the State Department's
list of designated foreign terrorist organizations maintain
Web sites on the Internet. While U.S. officials believe that
some terrorists use encrypted E-mail to plan acts of terrorism,
most groups appear to use the Internet to spread their propaganda.
Former chief of operations at the FBI Buck Revell told U.S.
News and World Report that "As long as they don't specifically
engage in criminal acts, they can do anything they want to aid
and abet their activities. This is a safe haven for them."
Internet sites of terrorist groups seek to advance the organization's
political and ideological agenda. Immediately after the Peruvian
terrorist group Tupac Amaru stormed the Japanese Ambassador's
residence in Lima and held scores of diplomatic, political and
military officials hostage in December 1996, Tupac Amaru sympathizers
in the U.S. and Canada established several solidarity Internet
sites, one of which included detailed drawings of the terrorists'
plan of assault on the Japanese Ambassador's residence.
Latin American guerrilla movements are among the most electronically
sophisticated extremist groups, according to a study in the
Wall Street Journal. Mexico's Zapatista guerrillas have
been rallying support online since their 1994 uprising. The
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fields press inquiries
through electronic mail. The Web site of Peru's primary terrorist
organization, Shining Path, contains scrolls of Marxist-Leninist
militant organizations also use the Internet to disseminate
their anti-Western, anti-Israel propaganda. Several Internet
sites created by Hamas supporters, for example, carry the organization's
charter and its political and military communiqués, some of
which openly call for and extol the murder of Jews. Others,
like the Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamic organization based
in Britain, uses its Web site to provide details to the public
about its regular meetings around the United Kingdom. Still
others use the Internet to raise funds; Hezbollah, for example,
the pro-Iranian Shiite terrorist organization based in south
Lebanon, sells books and publications through its Web site.
Israeli and U.S. officials believe that terrorists from Hamas
and Islamic Jihad use the Internet to provide specific instructions
to fellow terrorists including maps, photographs, directions,
codes and technical details of how to use explosives.
to terrorist sites, the World Wide Web also contains dozens
of sites run by domestic white supremacist and militia groups
using the information superhighway to promote their radical,
anti-U.S. Government agendas. Such sites are run by militias,
their sympathizers, common-law "theorists" and activists
as well as would-be secessionist groups such as the self-proclaimed
"Republic of Texas."
of these sites link to other Web pages that are filled with
gun-related, survival, paramilitary and pseudo-judicial information
and stories of corruption and murder in the highest realms of
the government. E Pluribus Unum, for example, served as the
online voice of the Ohio Unorganized Militia, featuring a number
of pages listing, with accompanying diagrams, the aiming points
for a full man-sized target to show where to aim to hit the
target in mid-chest "at various distances up to 500 yards."
sites actually provide information on how to build bombs as
well as instructions for making dangerous chemical and explosive
weapons. Many of these sites post the "Terrorist's Handbook"
and "The Anarchist Cookbook" which offer detailed
instructions of how to construct a wide range of bombs. The
anonymous authors of such Web sites often include a disclaimer
that the processes described should not be carried out.
to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Federal agents
investigating at least 30 bombings and four attempted bombings
between 1985 and June 1996 recovered bomb-making literature
that the suspects had obtained from the Internet. Among the
many examples, in February 1996, three junior high school students
from Syracuse, NY, were charged with plotting to set off a homemade
bomb in their school, based on plans they had found on the Internet.
While many have called for laws restricting the publication
of bomb-making instructions on the Internet, others have pointed
out that this material is already easily accessible in bookstores
Response to Terrorist Web Sites