Sunday 19 November 2017

Isil has 'revolutionised' social media, claims FBI

An Isil fighter waves a flag on a street in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Photo: Reuters
An Isil fighter waves a flag on a street in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Photo: Reuters

Joseph Ax in New York

THE head of the FBI has claimed Isil has revolutionised terror by inspiring individual attacks through social media.

FBI Director James Comey said last night it has used the internet for small-scale individual attacks around the world through social media, encrypted communications and slickly produced propaganda,

"Al Qa'ida was a very different model than the threat we face today," Mr Comey said at a counter-terrorism conference in New York City.

He said the FBI has "hundreds" of investigations in all 50 US states involving potential Isil-inspired plots.


His remarks came as Americans are jittery two weeks after a married couple shot and killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in an attack inspired by Isil.

Mr Comey said Isil has perfected the use of social media, and Twitter in particular, to contact potential followers in the United States and elsewhere.

"Twitter works as a way to sell books, as a way to promote movies, and it works as a way to crowdsource terrorism - to sell murder," Mr Comey said.

Isil also employs "end-to-end" encryption when communicating with individuals who it believes are willing to carry out killings in its name, Mr Comey said.

That has posed a significant challenge for investigators, who often find themselves stymied even when they have court orders giving them access to devices.

Mr Comey said he is convinced that law enforcement and technology companies can work together to solve that problem without compromising personal privacy.

"We are not going to break the Internet," he said. "We are not going to jeopardise people's security."

Meanwhile, in Paris yesterday, a man was arrested after he rammed the entry to the Invalides monument with his car.

No one was injured when the vehicle ploughed through the entrance at the golden-domed monument yesterday, the French capital's police force said.

They added that officers opened fire on the car, and said the incident was under investigation.

A bomb squad truck was on site.

On November 27, French president Francois Hollande paid tribute at the monument to the victims of the Paris terror attacks.


While in Vienna, Austrian authorities are investigating two men arrested several days ago for possible links to the Paris terror attacks, which killed 130 people.

State prosecutor Robert Holzleitner said the pair - arrested during the weekend in a migrants' shelter in Salzburg - are suspected of "participation in a terrorist organisation", with investigations focused on their possible connection to the November 13 attacks.

Mr Holzleitner said the suspects arrived in Europe from the Middle East.

But he refused to give any further details, saying that would jeopardise the investigation.

Irish Independent

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