ISIS Wives Collaborate to Evade Surveillance
Twitter and other social media platforms are integral to ISIS's global recruitment and radicalization efforts. Twitter has shut down some of the more inflammatory ISIS accounts, but Isabel Nassief, a social media analyst, suggests in a New York Times story that ISIS’s far flung reach may be more important than the content of its messages. She reports that on Twitter, a relatively small group of pro-ISIS accounts disseminate information that is then broadcast by their followers to thousands of other users. This process repeats itself over and over every day. As more than 20,000 foreigners have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join extremist groups, she writes, ISIS's strategy is clearly working. She suggests disrupting ISIS’s social media networks to thwart its growth.
Another New York Times story by Eric Schmitt describes a trove of intelligence that American agencies recovered from computers, cell phones, electronic devices and other materials seized after an air strike on the headquarters of an ISIS leader in eastern Syria. The information yielded clues on how ISIS’s shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi and regional leaders keep their locations and activities secret. Among other tactics, the wives of ISIS leaders pass information among themselves and then to their spouses, to evade detection. U.S. officials said ISIS is sophisticated, highly networked and resilient. The information also provided insight into ISIS’s business enterprises, which include kidnap for ransom, and its oil, gas and financial operations. Read the stories here and here.