NYT Letter: Terror and the Internet – Senator Lieberman Responds

Letter – Terror and the Internet – Senator Lieberman Responds – Letter – NYTimes.com: “Terror and the Internet: Senator Lieberman Responds

To the Editor:

In ‘Joe Lieberman, Would-Be Censor’ (editorial, May 25), you proclaim it ‘ludicrous’ to ‘claim that the Internet promotes terrorism.’ But the fact is that the Internet, through violent jihadist videos posted on YouTube, is being used to recruit terrorists here in the United States. And that is what I have asked YouTube, in the national interest, to stop.

The bipartisan staff of the Senate committee I head, which oversees homeland security matters, has documented that Islamist terror networks rely extensively on the Internet in their continuing war against the American people.

The intelligence community, moreover, sounded the alarm about proliferation of radical Islamist sites in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate: warning that, even absent guidance from established terror organizations, the Internet enables ‘alienated people to find and connect with one another, justify and intensify their anger, and mobilize resources to attack.’

What is ludicrous is the claim that YouTube has been pressured to pull down videos just because I don’t like them. Al Qaeda and its affiliates are engaged in a wartime communications strategy to recruit, amass funds and inspire savage attacks against American troops and civilians. Their Internet videos are branded with logos, authenticating them as enemy communications. They are patent incitements to violence, not First Amendment-protected speech. And they fall outside Google’s own stated guidelines for content.

The peril here is not to legitimate dissent but to our fundamental right of self-defense. For those of us in government, protecting Americans is the highest responsibility. Asking private parties operating public communications systems to assist that effort is common sense.

Joseph Lieberman
U.S. Senator from Connecticut
Washington, May 27, 2008″

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