Terrorists and rogue states are moving their battle to the Internet in a virtual war against liberal democracy. For too long, the United States and its allies have ignored the incitement and violent propaganda from Internet platforms operated by violent Islamist extremists.
Today, such neglect is not an option. As we have been warned by Harry Wingo -- a former Navy SEAL who now serves as Google's Washington, D.C. policy counsel-- "the code is mightier than the sword."
Internet code is an operational weapon used by terrorist groups to indoctrinate, recruit, train, and finance the next generation of terrorists. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas (with support, in some cases, from rogue states like Iran) use a vast and anonymous terrorist Web network as another front in their war against the West. These Web outlets should be treated as indistinguishable from the terrorist organizations that use them.
Is the threat real? A declassified U. S. National Intelligence Estimate concludes: "The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint. We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train and obtain logistical and financial support."