An AP report has disclosed that the U.S. State Department launched the “hacking” of al-Qaeda sites in Yemen. The article states that propaganda on the web pages was reversed to show altered versions of the ads that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton describes as showing “the toll al-Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people”. The information replaced al-Qaeda propaganda regarding the killing of Americans. This marks a public confirmation that the US is utilizing a breadth of technology based offensive in addition to other means against its enemies.
This admission of covert cyber operations is unusual, and it indicates a fairly non-destructive tact of distributing information as opposed to any attacks or surveillance of any organization or government.
As the article describes:
“Clinton described the cyber effort as part of a larger, multipronged attack on terrorism that goes beyond attacks like the Navy SEAL raid that killed Usama bin Laden to include the propaganda battle, and the longer, slower campaign of diplomats working alongside special operations troops to shore up local governments and economies and train local forces.”
Clinton also stated that the attack was launched by the Center for Strategic CounterTerrorism Communications, a group that includes diplomats, special operators, intelligence analysts, some of whom no doubt have hacking skills and experience. A component of the group’s mission is as Clinton states:
“Together, they will work to pre-empt, discredit and outmaneuver extremist propaganda,”