Al-Qaeda Plenty Safe, Thriving on Web

US missed badly on chance to foil terrorists' propaganda network
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2008 1:01 PM CDT
This is a screen grab from one of the many videos al-Qaeda posts online.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Americans might think of al-Qaeda as a cave-dwelling group of primitives, but the terror group operates one of the most sophisticated propaganda operations on the web, the Washington Post reports. Al-Qaeda releases documentary-quality videos every 3-4 days through tightly secured channels. “It’s beautifully crafted propaganda,” said one expert. “You’re left shaking your head and saying, ‘Yeah, I guess they’re right.’”

“It is just plain embarrassing that al-Qaeda is better at communicating its message on the Internet than America,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates once said. “How has one man in a cave managed to out-communicate the world’s greatest communication society?” The US missed early chances to cripple al-Qaeda’s web infrastructure, now too hard to dismantle. “We could go around shutting down websites,” one expert said, “but it doesn’t really work.”