their attacks against the West, and the path to action. In this way they have successfully won adherents to the cause in counties as diverse as Algeria, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Pakistan, and Spain. Once recruited, they use the Internet to train their followers by providing online education manuals as well as directions to training camps. They produce propaganda videos both to sustain the converted and to intimidate Western publics as well as to win recruits and to raise funds. They use the Internet to create a virtual community of support for the militant wherever he or she may be and to sustain their commitment to the cause. They also use the Internet to plan and carry out their attacks, as was effectively demonstrated on September 11th.

Just as important, terrorists—by their very modes of operation—intermingle with the society they target. Not only do they use the indigenous information technology infrastructure and the Internet to interact with each other, they must also interact with society at large. Thus, they use cell phones, pay with credit cards, travel commercially, rent vehicles and apartments, and otherwise engage in conventional commercial activities—all of which are activities that leave a digital footprints that may subsequently be tracked.

Lastly, terrorists have more or less lost the territorial bases they used to house their own institutional infrastructure. Given the anonymity, affordability, and ease of access to the Internet, they have created a command-and-control structure in cyberspace. Given the determination of Western governments to deny terrorist groups safe physical havens within which to operate and to train with impunity, it seems certain that their reliance on new information technologies will only increase.


We can reasonably expect the threat from terrorists groups to continue for the foreseeable future. There are no signs of the abatement of the threat. Terrorism, like other tactics, will continue to be deployed as long as it proves effective. Terrorists have been unsuccessful in achieving the fundamental political change they seek, but they have been particularly successful in achieving their more immediate goals: exacting revenge for real or perceived grievances, achieving renown for themselves and their cause, and provoking a reaction from the authorities. As long as terrorists continue to be successful in achieving their objectives of revenge, renown, and reaction, they are likely to continue to use terrorist tactics.

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