Cyber Counter-Terrorism

In New York City after 9/11, a campaign was started by the Metropolitan Transit Authority to encourage regular citizens to become counter-terrorist agents in their own right and alert authorities when they see something around the city that is suspicious. This campaign was aptly named “If You See Something, Say Something”.  Indeed, this method of counter-terrorism has actually been successful in many circumstances, and has become a national campaign adopted by the Department of Homeland Security.  Now a certain “Grandpa Raptor”, or “th3raptor” as he identifies on the internet, has taken this idea to the next level.  “The Raptor” campaign: if you see something, hack something.

Claiming to be “Just another infidel defending cyberspace for God and country”, this man has claimed, by means of his twitter and blog, to be responsible for shutting down multiple websites that supported Al Qaeda or enabled Al Qaeda sympathizers to communicate and encourage acts of terrorism.  The majority of these sites stayed shut down for two weeks.  One in particular, Shamukh Islamic Network, quickly proclaimed the outage an attack by “Enemies of Allah”.  But The Raptor does not seem to be easing up; just recently he tweeted, “Every time you open your mouth, bad things happen to your forums. Bring it.”

No one has been able to definitively verify that th3raptor is indeed responsible for these shut downs, but his claim to be fighting terrorism from his own personal workspace is gaining him quick popularity.  While this is indeed a wonderful display of nonviolent sabotage, it is a little unsettling that a man involving himself so seriously in counter-terrorist activity is beckoning the supporters of Al Qaeda to “Bring it.”

Rebecca Hecht