Another counter-terrorism tactic using the Internet is the old false flag technique. This consists of American intelligence setting up web sites, or individuals using the Internet, who pretend to be terrorists. Even less is revealed about these activities, although some leaks out when other terrorists complain openly about being taken in. This has been the first way American intelligence has been able to get inside al Qaeda, and other Islamic terrorist organizations. This technique takes advantage of the fact that many Islamic terrorists are inexperienced, or just plain dumb. These efforts have developed additional information that has led to arrests, raids on safe houses and workshops, and further infiltration of terrorist groups.
The Internet is becoming popular in Iraq, and is turning into a weapon used against the local terrorists. Prior to the beginning of the War in 2002, Internet access was limited to 3,000 internet and 8,000 email accounts. Three years later, there are over 157,000 active Internet subscribers. Many of these Internet users are Sunni Arabs, and a lot of those are terrorists. Several dozen Internet Cafes are known terrorist hangouts. Al Qaeda, and Islamic terrorists in general, have come to rely on the Internet for communications and recruitment. But the Internet is a two way street. American Internet experts have a lot of ways to turn the web against the terrorists. First, there is interception of communications. Terrorists have long known that satellite phones calls are intercepted by American intelligence (NSA), and that any wireless communications can, and usually are, vacuumed up by those damn Americans. While terrorists have resorted to codes and encryption for their Internet communications (usually email, but sometimes chat, bulletin boards and instant messaging as well), they are less aware of how useful traffic (and other math based) analysis of those communications can be. The terrorists also appear to underestimate the speed with which the NSA can crack codes (the NSA, of course, never comments of this part of their work.) Nevertheless, many arrests have resulted, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, because terrorists thought they had a way to use the Internet without exposing their location or activities.