Al-Qaeda, a global terrorist network, was founded by Osama bin Laden more than ten years ago. This terrorist network remains a major threat across the United States, Middle East, and Africa. Al-Qaeda’s leaders understand that they are being targeted by the United States government. For this reason, they often use every means possible to share information and gather intelligence in order to make necessary preparations on how to fight their enemies whenever they strike (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). Traditionally, Al-Qaeda largely relied on the local population to gather intelligence. In addition, the terrorist network used basic communication strategies such as face-to-face communication to share information (Global Security, 2015).
However, with technological advancements in the contemporary world, Al-Qaeda now uses technology to share information and to gather intelligence. Moreover, Al-Qaeda currently implements various technological concepts similar to those employed by the United States such as, communication networks, fusion centers, information sharing environment (ISE), detection tools, and surveillance capabilities. Al-Qaeda is unconcerned about ethics and it unethically employs technology in its attempt to attack the United States and its allies. The United States has powers to employ technology in similar ways as a strategy towards defeating Al-Qaeda (Global Security, 2015).
The five main technological tools used by Al-Qaeda with regard to information sharing and intelligence gathering include mobile phones, Skype, emails, various websites on the Internet, and different forms of media such as television, radio, and newspapers. According to Theohary and Rollins (2011), Al-Qaeda largely uses mobile phones, emails, Skype, and the media to spread terrorism-related information and to gather intelligence from their sympathizers distributed in different countries globally. In addition, various websites on the internet provide very good platforms where Al-Qaeda delivers threats that are meant to instill fear among the United States citizens and their allies.
Al-Qeada also uses videotapes to disseminate horrific images of their actions and attacks to members of the public to render them helpless. Moreover, Al-Qaeda leaders spend their time examining national websites in order to gather intelligence that can assist them to stay safe from attacks planned by the United States. Since counterterrorism plans are sometimes documented in various forms of media, Al-Qaeda currently find the radio, newspapers, and television to be very good sources of intelligence gathering (Theohary and Rollins, 2011).
In order to Al-Qaeda to be successful in implementing their attack plans on America, they have to maintain a status quo which is only possible through rigorous recruiting, resource acquisition, training, surveillance, targeting, communication, attack, and spread of propaganda (O’Neil and Gray, 2011). The most important component on the list is communication. As the United States used network technologies to facilitate effective communication in order to counter terrorism, Al-Qaeda employs the same strategy including mass media and the internet to spread messages of attack. The group has a strong multi-national network that involves Islamic militant in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Germany, Somalia, and Algeria, just to mention but a few (Global Security, 2015).
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