35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Cyber Brief: State Department Efforts to Combat Terrorist Use of the Internet

Published: May 30, 2018

Edited by Michael Martelle

For more information, contact:
202-994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

The use of the internet by terrorist organizations has proven to be a vexing problem for policymakers. This week’s Cyber Brief highlights this issue with four FOIA releases retrieved from the Department of State Virtual Reading Room as well as a UN report on the terrorist use of the internet, the Department of State’s International Cyberspace Policy published in 2016, testimony by Michael Smith before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on the Islamic State’s online recruitment campaign, and testimony by Alberto Fernandez as the Coordinator for the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.


New to the Vault

From the Vault


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, The Use of the Internet for Terrorist Purposes, September 2012. Unclassified.

This document reports on how terror groups use the internet as well as multiple aspects of internet counter-terrorism including the frameworks within which nations have to work, investigative efforts, prosecutions, and cooperation.

Department of State, Department of State International Cyberspace Policy Strategy, March 2016. Unclassified.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 required the State Department to report on its activities taken in support of the President's International Strategy for Cyberspace. This report concerns, inter alia, the Department's efforts with regard to the digital economy, international security, promotion of cyber due diligence, combating cybercrime, Internet freedom, and the mainstreaming of cyber issues in the Department of State.

United States Congress, Prepared testimony of Michael S. Smith II Terrorism Analyst Before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism Hearing titled "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online: Working with Tech to Find Solutions", October 31, 2017. Unclassified.

This testimony examines the use of the internet and social media by Russian Intelligence Agencies and extremist groups as well as strategies to counter threatening activity.