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The United States is Gearing Up for the Online War on Terror

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On Tuesday, the Chairman of Homeland Security said that in order to keep up the fight against terrorism, the U.S. must engage with the internet.

Rep. Michael McCaul described the counter terrorism strategies laid out by current U.S. President Obama and former U.S. President G.W. Bush as being outdated.  McCaul stated that the global jihadist movement is expanding through the internet, and the fight must be brought there.

“Now we have a new generation of terrorists that are very savy on the internet. They know how to exploit it, both how to recruit and train, and to radicalize from within. Through the power of the internet, you don’t have to travel to Syria. You can get radicalized here and then kill Americans,” he stated.

He introduced a “nonpartisan security proposal”, as he refers to it,  for both presidential nominees.

He speculates that attacks similar to the recent ones in New York and New Jersey could, in fact, become normal as online terror networks are calling for a “stay where you are and kill by any means necessary,” approach.

Bomber Ahmad Rahami’s notebook was found to contain all of his extremist ideology, mention of online rallying and coordination, and the names if the bombers from Boston, and Al Qaeda.

McCaul states that he will look into whether the FBI is properly handling the inquiry into Rahami from two years ago, after his own father said he suspected his son of being a terrorist sympathizer.

Rahami wasn’t born in the U.S.; he is a naturalized citizen of the United States.  Tuesday he was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place.

McCaul went on to say:

“The numbers keep going up; they’re not going down. Since ISIS founded its so called caliphate in 2014, the U.S. authorities have arrested 100 ISIS followers in the U.S. and foiled 100 plots against the West. This movement is expanding globally, rather than shrinking, although we’ve had some limited military successes against them.”

Under Obama, the State Department has drafted an online counter narrative campaign. Companies like Google and Twitter have taken up the role of crashing radical user parties and  are adding proactive content to search results.

The security proposal calls for the creation of a brand new National Security Commission that will make policies for Congress, the  use of social media in background checks, the use of biometric data by the Transportation Security Administration, a complete restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security so that it’s more terror focused, and the rebalancing of the President’s National Security council, along with other anti-terror focused actions.

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