International Law

UK Web Jihad Case Linked to US Fraud

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Most Americans probably don’t think they have a personal link to a terrorism case that resulted in lengthy prison terms today for three London residents who ran Web sites promoting al-Qaida. But many might well be wrong about that.

The three convicted terrorists funded their operations through Internet identity theft and credit card fraud operations. And that means many Americans have been solicited in the e-mail scams they ran, reports the Washington Post.

More importantly, the case shows a key link between terrorism and cyber crime that, until now, has not been understood, let alone effectively addressed, the Post article explains: “Much has been written about radical Islamic groups’ use of the Internet to propagandize and recruit new members. The U.K. investigation, however, revealed a significant link between Islamic terrorist groups and cyber crime, and experts say security officials must do more to understand and confront cyber crime as part of any overall strategy for combating terrorism.”

It also raises concerns about how law enforcement agencies can stop such terrorism-linked financial fraud. “There is no law enforcement agency in the world that, if this wasn’t a terrorism financing case, would follow up on this,” an unnamed investigator told the Post, discussing the London Web sites prosecution. “They just don’t have the resources.”

The three London men–who, until their arrests, were among the best in the world at what they did–are the first ever to be convicted of terrorism in Britain based solely on Internet activities, as an post earlier today discusses.

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