Islamic State’s Command of Social Media Called Unprecedented

When Elton Simpson drove from Phoenix to Garland, Texas, last month to gun down attendees at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest, he also fired off a series of tweets.

Those tweets were indicative of the broad use that the Islamic State and people acting in its name are making of social media, according to three top intelligence officials who testified Wednesday before the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“I have been doing this for 45 years,” said Francis Taylor, the undersecretary of intelligence and analysis for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “I’ve never seen a terrorist organization with a kind of public relations savvy as ISIL.” ISIL is the government’s preferred acronym for the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS.

Simpson died before he could attack the cartoon contest, felled by a police officer’s bullet. But the Islamic State’s public relations savvy has drawn 180 Americans to join the group, Taylor said in his prepared remarks. It’s also led to a number of lone wolf attacks throughout the world, including what police called a failed plot by Usaama Rahim to behead two law enforcement officers in Boston on Tuesday.

“ISIL has constructed a narrative that is appealing to people from many different walks of life,” said Michael Steinbach, the assistant director in the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI. “There is no set profile for the consumer of this propaganda.” (Read more from “Islamic State’s Command of Social Media Called Unprecedented” HERE)

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