th3raptor

Defending the cyber landscape for God and country

What I Believe: The Justification

What I Believe: The Justification For Attacking Jihadist Websites

There has been a lot of on-line debate about the value of attacking jihadist websites. One such debate between a person who uses the nickname Anonakomis and another person who uses the nickname The Jester put a spotlight on the issue and begs for justification of why attacks are appropriate, in my opinion.

Anonakomis believes that attacking jihadist websites tends to force website administrators to 1) improve their security posture and/or 2) drive the websites deeper into the dark corners of the Internet and thus make them more difficult for intelligence gathering efforts. The theory is that valuable intelligence can be gathered by monitoring Internet traffic and postings from these sites and, therefore, anything that impedes that traffic and reduces the free flow of chatter actually does more harm to intelligence gathering efforts than is worth the temporary disruption caused by denial of service attacks.

The Jester believes that even a temporary disruption in services provided by jihadist websites is enough to frustrate, confound, and demoralize forum users enough that it, in effect, scatters the crowd and thus makes it more difficult to organize thoughts and inspire ideas.

A shout-out to Anonakomis and The Jester: Gentlemen, I hope that I have adequately represented your beliefs. My apologies if I have fallen short.

To Sam Bowne: You asked for a position paper. Here it is. You may or may not agree with it but it is what it is.

Commentary:

Many would prefer life’s decisions to be either black or white – blue pill or red pill. Life, of course, is not that simple. Standing in defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL people is an absolute, just as murdering innocent people and imposing one’s will on others are absolutes in the other extreme. We can all agree on those principals, I hope. The problems begin when we start drawing lines around gray areas. Decisions about right and wrong can get blurred and confusing, and are often based on prejudices that have no legitimate place in the matter.

Topiary once said that fences create sides, sides create enemies, and enemies create wars. Wars, he said, are a common foe. I couldn’t agree more.

My reasoning regarding attacks against on-line extremist web sites:

There are three different camps of thought when it comes to the question of how to address jihadist websites. None of three are just plain wrong but they each have their failings. Let me explain:

1. The first camp is what we can call the Intelligence Community camp. The Intelligence Community believes there is far greater worth in monitoring assets with the option of destroying them later than “bombing” them on sight. In principal, one cannot argue with the merits of this belief. It is a long-held military strategy to “milk” an asset for all it is worth before killing it.

The Intelligence Community would much rather allow jihadist websites to go about their normal business with a mistaken belief they are operating beneath our radar.

2. The second camp is what we can call the Political Community camp. There are forces driving this camp in all directions but, ultimately, their will to take decisive action in a direction is predicated by public and political perceptions, the maintenance of political objectives. So as far as dealing with jihadist websites is concerned, any discussion of disrupting them is lost in a fog of the political and legal ramifications of doing so. Lawyers get involved and the debates go on forever.

3. The third camp is the Military Community camp. The Military Community is made up of people with a “Get It Done” mindset. Anything that stops the hemorrhaging of American and allied blood in the global fight against terrorism is on the table for consideration. Lawyers and politicians are often held with a certain amount of unspoken disdain.

As for jihadist websites, there are several camps as well:

1. There are websites that are closely held and well defended by the enemy. The sites are closely monitored by site administrators, and significant investments in infrastructure are made to keep them operational and as secure as possible. These sites offer rich intelligence about the nature of our enemy that probably outweighs the value of efforts to force them offline. The problem is that most of these sites are usually well hidden in the dark corners of the Internet, and are visited by people who have received an invitation to do so.

2. There are websites that are closely held by the enemy in that they speak with a unified and orchestrated voice. The content of these sites is regulated so that it is sometimes difficult to tell them apart except for cosmetic design differences. The intent is to make sure the same message is presented to anyone who happens upon each site.

Those visitors who are inspired can register for membership. Registered members can choose to immerse themselves in “the ideology” to a deeper depth and, at some point, will usually be funneled toward the jihadist sites in the darker corners of the web.

3. Finally, there are sites that are managed by people who do not hold a close affiliation with the other sites. These sites are sometimes out of step with the mainstream jihadist view. An example of the mindset of a person who admins this type of site is seen in the recent death threats against David Letterman. Even though the threats were made on a higher-tier web forum, the author was obviously intoxicated or horribly misinformed. While the threats resulted in a significant amount of media attention in the United States, they were virtually ignored in the much more focused chatter posted by mainstream jihadists. So, these sites are collateral to the enemy’s objectives. Whether the sites live or die hardly matters and, therefore, most of these sites pop up and then fade away as the administrator gets bored and moves on to another venture.

My opinion:

Personally, I believe that DOS attacking websites that fall in camp # 1 can be counter-productive. If an attack can be deep – by that, I mean not a simple denial of service type of attack – then the benefits may outweigh the costs; however, we are talking a take-over of the site for intelligence-gathering purposes.

Personally, I believe that attacking websites that fall in camp # 2 are complementary to intelligence-gathering efforts against websites that fall in camp # 1. By disrupting the message and demoralizing the messenger of camp # 2 sites, we can effectively interfere with the public relations and intake value of these sites. Left unchecked, these sites spew a common voice with an appearance of strength and solidarity. Any effort that causes weakness and disfunction is capable of instilling mistrust by visitors and posters alike, and thus serves to reduce the funneling of ideologically-challenged visitors to the higher-tiered forums where they can be further radicalized into action.

Furthermore, camp # 2 sites are not likely to invest great sums of money in security. The nature of these sites doesn’t make them candidates for that kind of expenditure. It is far easier and less costly for jihadist administrators to accept quantity over quality.

Finally, camp # 2 sites are not likely to be driven into the darker corners of the Internet because they primarily exist as public relations, recruitment, and funding intake sites. These sites are only of value if they can be easily found and operate with impunity.

By disrupting these “intake” sites, the higher-tiered sites have a choice of either becoming more “findable” or risk losing the user base that made them worthwhile to the enemy in the first place.

The camp # 3 sites are like cockroaches. Even cockroaches will breed if left unchecked.

Summary:

I hope this helps to explain the value in disrupting jihadist web forums – from my perspective.

My hope is that some U.S. or Allied soldier will get to go home to his wife and children because that one dollar of jihadist financial support or one moment of jihadist inspiration that would have killed him was disrupted.

Call to action:

You are free to disagree with this position paper if you choose. The point is that you are free.

Thanks for reading.

23 responses to “What I Believe: The Justification

  1. elainewhiteside April 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Proud of you Raptor!! Keep up the good work.

    • M January 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

      I’m ex Mil myself (brit) I really appreciate what you do for all level headed human beings worldwide
      big up to you th3Raptor and your family
      stay safe
      M

  2. Justified in Christ April 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    While I back your effort, actions and reasoning. You lost some credibility with me when I read your comments regarding the religion of Islam being a religion of peace, or at least how some practice the religion peacefully as you mentioned of your Muslim friends. This in noway can be possible if the quran is followed word for word. Those “peaceful Muslims” who practice this idolatrous religion and leave out the parts about overtaking the world and killing all Jews and Christians are not being faithful to their religion. But, regardless of the eternal consequences of one choosing this religion your actions on a worldly level are right on. Our government cry’s for “tolerance”. Islams actions can not be tolerated on any level.

  3. What is "occupation" April 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Good going, not sure of the implications good or bad. Just be safe.

  4. Brian Patronie April 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Since your “coming out” on Foxnews today there are already comments complaining that you are shutting down valuable sources of inyelligence and that you may have subjected yourself to federal scrutiny and/or prosecution. Help me help you. If you look at the comments suggetion the majority of the respondants support you. What can you offer to answer the concerns expressed above?

    • th3raptor April 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Brian, I have contemplated your question. I believe the justification I have already provided is adequate to state my position; however, since I believe your question was an honest attempt to elicit something more, I will try to provide you a better window into my mind.

      As a father of an active-duty soldier and an American citizen who worries not just for the safety of his own child but the children, and husbands, and wives of countless other American citizens, I believe there is a moment when we all have to take a stand. My intent has never been to throw stones at the intelligence community. I deeply respect what they do, and I appreciate that they genuinely believe monitoring jihadist sites better serves the long-term interests of this country, our allies, and the people who have to live in those distant lands.

      Unfortunately, I tend to agree with most of our commanders on-the-ground who have publically stated they could do more to protect their troops -our family members – if they could find a way to deal with certain jihadist websites…the very sites we are talking about. Basically, there is a chasm between groups as to how best to proceed with regard to these sites. Do we go with intelligence gathering in the hope that lives can be saved tomorrow? I admit that anecdotal evidence; at least, suggests there is a return on investment in this thinking. Or, on the other hand, do we disrupt and dismay the enemy’s communication channels in every possible way so that we can save lives right now. There is strong evidence to support this thinking as well. Any person who honestly considers either of these approaches has to admit there is validity in both sides of the argument.

      I value human life as the most precious thing we have in this world. When it is over, it is gone. War is hell; no doubt about it. In as much as war is the failure of mankind to reach a political solution to our problems, I think that politicians need to step aside once they have failed and let our warriors do their job as quickly and efficiently as they can possibly can. In that light, I tend to value the opinions of our military leadership over the opinions of politicians when it comes to fighting wars. To be blunt, if our military commanders are blaming jihadist sites for distributing the knowledge and inspiration to kill our children, not to mention the children of families who are just trying to go about their lives in distant lands, and yet we take no action to shut those sites down in a legal way just as quickly as we possibly can, I have to wonder if we, as a nation, are sacrificing those poor souls on the alter of war.

      Nobody relishes the idea of going to jail, I think. I certainly don’t. Ultimately, however, I would rather look at my reflection in a shiny prison bar while knowing, in my heart, that I did the right thing rather than look into a mirror in the comfort of my home knowing I could have done something to save the life of my own child and/or the lives of so many other children, but I failed to take any action because I was afraid for my own comfort.

      I hope this helps you to understand my position. I don’t mean it as an attempt to change your mind. I just ask that you genuinely consider it.

      • Brian Patronie April 13, 2012 at 9:55 am

        Raptor,
        I thank you for the prompt and honest response, forgive me if i left you with the impression that I was a member of the “he`s an amatuer who is screwing up intelligence gathering for the pro`s” camp. I assure you I am not. I guess what I wanted to make you aware of was that camp existed, there thoughts and worries, and attempt to get you to address them on your blog.
        I believe I have suceeded in this and you sir have hit a home run explaining your though process behind your actions. I for one cannot understand why we as a nation spend billions of dollars fighting the jihadists propganda machine when people like you are pointing the way to a much more simple and cost effective plan of attack.
        I have one request:
        If I may, I`d like to use the response you provided to my inquiry in your defence in answer to any ad homin attacks against you I encounter on the web. Run interference so to speak.
        Again thank you for your prompt reply and good luck to you sir.

        Regards,
        Brian Patronie

  5. Immune April 11, 2012 at 2:55 am

    I agree with your position. As for the idea that the enemy will be pressed further into the shadows…good! They must then work that much more to keep hidden…like cockroaches. I believe there is a historic example of this “Let them be in the open” mentality…Neville Chamberlain…and we all saw how that tactic worked out.

    No my friends, you must confront the enemy to disrupt their operations. You cannot afford to think only defensively. You must add a measure of offense or you will be picked apart one piece at a time. Without offense your enemy simply gains more tools to further their goals. Either way, sitting in the open and hoping for piece or hiding in a hole will always lead to demise.

    We all see how sitting in a house hiding worked out for Bin Laden! It works both ways. You must be on the offense with a steady defense to protect your assets. Read Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

    Semper Fi!

  6. Charles Martel April 11, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Interesting that you come to the defense of teachers. Thank you.

  7. Samburrito April 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Thank you!! we stand with you… pvhax community

  8. Ron April 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    I have 2 sons in the military who I am very proud of. Thank you for what you do. God bless you. You will be included in my prayers along with our military.

  9. GoBlue April 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Love you Raptor! Keep up the good work. God Bless you and everyone else in our military who is defending our soil and our economy from those who are jealous of our way of life and will never be able to create anything that comes close to what we have in terms of maximizing human potential.

  10. bradrobinson314 April 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Sir, I believe you should get a metal of Merit if nothing else. You deserve it. I am not sure how this idea slipped through our hands earlier. Keep up the good work, God Bless the USA.

  11. nomar007 April 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Keep doing what you do! God bless America. Home of the BRAVE and land of the FREE. You make all of us a brave free person….

  12. nomar007 April 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    You are a BRAVE FREE man and thank you for same.

  13. Dan Future Law April 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I think you would agree that while life’s decisions are so often not black and white, when life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness comes in conflict with itself (the jihadists want their way of life, their liberty to do what they want, and to do what makes them happy i.e. kill the infidels), good and evil certainly exist. There is no doubt in this situation that the jihadists are evil. I believe that fact must be established before anyone could move onto your other points. Obviously you don’t wrestle with some sort of moral quandary about the matter, or else you would not even consider the decision to act. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  14. Hatshepsut April 13, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Raptor, you have elegantly expressed your opinion and in response I can only offer an “Amen!” I completely agree with your position and hope that all those who also agree remember to use their freedoms and vote for leaders that will support this position.

  15. Kbarmike April 13, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Thanks for the lesson, I didnt know enough, to even know what questions to ask? I’ll keep you in my prayers. Semper Fi!

  16. elainewhiteside April 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Raptor, just wanted to tell you about this site where the Taliban are asking for donations to fight the infidels. I don’t know where else to post this, I’m not on Twitter, so I hope you see this. [edited to remove link].

    • th3raptor April 28, 2012 at 2:57 am

      Thanks. Sorry I haven’t responded already but I got tied up on another project. The site is on my radar now but I’m having to do a little recon to make sure it really is what it looks like. It can sometimes be rather difficult to tell who is really who. Gotta try though. 😉

      • elainewhiteside April 29, 2012 at 12:12 am

        I’ve been reading novels about counter terrorism operatives going in and fighting terrorists outside the normal rules of engagement and I’ve prayed these guys really exist. You give me a lot of hope that they do because of what you do. Terrorist are cowards who don’t wear uniforms and fight like men, they hide behind women and children. God bless you Raptor and our military and our country.

  17. elainewhiteside August 23, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Hi Raptor, I haven’t stopped by lately so I thought it was time to come say hello. I know you don’t like all the attention but I just wanted to tell you that your work is not forgotten.

    • Texangirl January 11, 2013 at 6:42 am

      agreed elaine! Prayers of blessings, insight, wisdom and infiltration for th3Raptor!!! Happy 2013 and the annihilation of terrorists!

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