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Wednesday
May232012

Secretary Hillary Clinton: We Hacked Yemen Al Qaeda Sites

SAUL LOEB/AFP/GettyImages(TAMPA, Fla.) -- In a rare glimpse into cyber warfare tactics, a top U.S. official has explicitly acknowledged that the U.S. government hacked into websites run by al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, changing advertisements that boasted about killing Americans into advertisements that underscored the deaths of Muslim civilians in al Qaeda terror attacks.

During her keynote speech at the Special Operations Command gala dinner in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that State Deptartment specialists attacked sites tied to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that were trying to recruit new members by “bragging about killing Americans.”

“Within 48 hours, our team plastered the same sites with altered versions of the ads that showed the toll al Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people,” said Clinton. “We can tell our efforts are starting to have an impact because extremists are publicly venting their frustration and asking supporters not to believe everything they read on the Internet.”

It had been suspected that the U.S. government played some role in shutting down several jihadi Web forums earlier this year, but officials from the CIA and counterterrorism community had previously denied any involvement.

Highlighting the government’s use of “smart power” to fight extremists, Clinton said that military and civilian specialists around the world are focused on pre-empting, discrediting, and outmaneuvering extremist propaganda. Calling them “a digital outreach team,” Clinton said the specialists are fluent in Urdu, Arabic and Somali. The group is “already patrolling the Web and using social media and other tools to expose al Qaeda’s contradictions and abuses, including its continuing brutal attacks on Muslim civilians.”

Secretary Clinton also said that under her tenure the State Department has become more active in working with the Defense Department and the intelligence community to use diplomacy as a tool to fight terrorism of all forms and extremist propaganda.

The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, according to Clinton, was created to find ways for civilian diplomats and experts to better aid military operations in hot spots. Clinton said the bureau sent a team of experts ahead of the Special Operations mission in Central Africa to talk to village leaders and rebels who would be open to defecting or helping the U.S. find the warlord Joseph Kony.

Clinton said the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau is currently spearheading a diplomatic campaign around the world working with local governments and leaders to squeeze any funding venues for al Qaeda and its affiliates.  She said the State Department trains nearly 7,000 police, prosecutors and counterterrorism officials from more than 60 countries.

“We’re expanding our work with civil society organizations in specific terrorist recruiting hot spots -- particular villages, prisons, and schools -- to disrupt the process of radicalization by creating jobs, promoting religious tolerance, and amplifying the voices of victims of terrorism,” said Clinton.
 
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jul032011

Social Media Sites Blocked in Belarus on Independence Day

John Foxx/Stockbyte(MINSK, Belarus) -- Demonstrators in Belarus who were planning to use the internet to organize Independence Day protests came upon an obstacle Sunday, as the country reportedly blocked access to certain social networking websites.

Activists planned on staging an anti-government protest on Sunday in the form of clapping when President Alexander Lukashenko began delivering his Independence Day speech at the country’s independence celebrations.

Despite the online obstacle, some protestors gathered in the capital Minsk, on Sunday, to engage in protests, however, security forces acted swiftly and arrested several demonstrators.

Lukashenko described the protests as being a move to overthrow his government, according to published reports.

In a statement Friday the Belarus president said, “stomping, clapping, bellowing and roaring on squares and streets cannot solve problems and, what matters most, cannot earn money.”

July 3 marks the anniversary of the end of Nazi rule in Minsk, which ended in 1944.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio