You may remember Terrorist 007, Exposed from a few months ago. That was an article by Rita Katz.
I was interested in whether the New Yorker article had generated any buzz in the press. The story was picked up yesterday by The Middle East Times, a Cyprus based publisher.
The SITE Institute provides an open listing of its publications, including a summary of each item. As a non-profit, SITE seeks donations. If you give $1,000 or more, she will send you a "free" copy of her book -- a $16 value, absolutely free! About the book, Robert Steele says:
Reliable sources in the counter-terrorism world inform me that this book is partly fiction in that the author is systematically integrating the accomplishments of others into her story as if they were her own. I have, however, decided to leave my review intact because she tells a very good story and its key points are right on target. I recommend the book for purchase by all--on balance it is a fine contribution. As I finished the book, I agreed completely with the author's basic premise, to the effect that open source information about US terrorist and charity ties, properly validated, should be posted to the Internet for all to see.
Here's an early article about the brouhaha over her book. She was also interviewed by National Review.
Islamic terrorism is different from organized crime on several levels and it needs to be confronted accordingly. For terrorists, money is not a goal, but rather a means. Islamic terrorists, unlike other criminals, have no value for life, not even their own. Without understanding their motives and way of thinking, they cannot be defeated. Therefore, Islamic terrorism needs to be studied in depth, and it needs to be addressed as a global, long-term problem. Which brings me to the strategic planning of the war on terror. The only way we can win this war is if we, the West, will force countries, governments, and organizations that educate, preach, and fund jihad to stop what they are doing.
Her relationship with the government has been rocky at times, as she related in her book:
"The CIA was investigating me and the SAAR investigators from Green Quest and Customs. The CIA and the FBI investigated everyone who had anything to do with the SAAR investigation. White vans and SUV's with dark windows appeared near all the homes of the SAAR investigators. All agents, some of whom were very experienced with surveillance, knew they were being followed. So was I. I felt that I was being followed everywhere and watched, at home, in the supermarket, on the way to work...and for what?...I don't know for certain what's the deal with the CIA investigating the SAAR investigators, but it sure feels as if someone up in that agency doesn't like the idea that the Saudi Arabian boat is rocked."
After she was identified as the author of her book, she was profiled in a Phoenix newsletter, where she is quoted:
"I wrote the book because Islamic fundamentalism doesn't only exist in Pakistan and Afghanistan," she says. "It is here and if we don't understand it, we can't fight it."
In 2003, she was featured on the Diane Rehm show, talking about her book. You can listen to streaming audio of the broadcast.
Creative Loafing didn't treat her kindly after she accused Gainesville, GA's Mar-Jac Poultry of providing material support to terrorists.
it's basic agitprop, the Big Lie. Katz and Emerson are merchants of ignorance -- and they need gullible law enforcement agencies.
For more about that case, see here.
Nancy Luque, the Washington-based attorney for Heritage and Safa, said that Katz had spewed reckless information about her clients and that CBS did not offer them an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Similar charges are made in the Mar-Jac lawsuit. CBS did not return calls seeking comments. Luque believes Katz has a personal interest in making the claims, noting that "60 Minutes" featured her book and that she is a paid consultant for a law firm that has filed a $1 trillion lawsuit on behalf of families of the victims of the September 11 attacks.
She is mentioned in this ACLU Letter to Congress regarding the Mar-Jac case:
If the search is eventually upheld, I believe that this strengthens the need for additional checks and balances for the use, for intelligence purposes, of information obtained in criminal investigations. The court noted in its ruling that criminal probable cause for a search warrant requires far less than probable cause for an arrest. Judicial approval of broad search powers in criminal investigations will, without proper oversight, provide a powerful incentive to government officials to use those investigations for the purpose of gathering information on Americans, including information clearly protected by the First Amendment.
Actually, Crossfire once introduced her as "counsel for the plaintiffs" and tagged her in the transcript as Rita Katz, attorney:
RITA KATZ, ATTORNEY: The Islamic banking, the Saudi banking don't fund only al Qaeda. They fund terrorism. This is what we want to fight. The Holion (ph) Foundation has received funds from some of the charities that have been named in this lawsuit.
The folks at DailyKos were incredulous when she was quoted in NYT.
John Young collected some information about Katz, as part of his Eyeball series, but notes elsewhere indicate there is a Mail Boxes Etc. at the physical address cited in WHOIS for SITE. Also, press accompanying her book indicate she was in New York City at the time. His collection includes an NYT article from 2004 which offers a photograph of Katz. Wired reported in 2005 that SITE is based in DC. The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported in 2003 that Katz is a resident of Potomac, Maryland.
All of that secrecy seems a bit odd, when you consider the fact that she is represented by a public speaking bureau on Fifth Avenue.
On numerous occasions, Katz has gone undercover to events organized by various terrorist front groups to collect information crucial to her efforts to understand and document the activities of radical Islamist activists in the U.S. She also trains and deploys others as part of her own undercover network.
This is the same organization that represents Michael Moore, Richard Clarke, Richard Holbrooke, Scott Adams, Lance Armstrong, Dave Barry, Joy Behar, Cofer Black, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter, Wesley Clark, Esther Dyson, and many, many others.
Katz has recently spoken:
Cooperative Jewish Council: Sunday evening, April 30, 2006 with guest speaker Rita Katz
Temple Beth El: Sunday morning, February 5, 2006 with guest speaker Rita Katz. [photos]
Here are some more, from when she spoke at Chabad House in Vestal, NY.
According to NYT, SITE "also has a small crew in Israel, which allows the organization to monitor sites around the clock."
In April, the Post cited her alongside Bruce Hoffman:
In recent months, Google Video has also become a favorite tool among jihadist groups for uploading and accessing videos, said Rita Katz. "This kind of tradecraft is essential to survival," Hoffman said.
Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World
This ground-breaking book is the first to piece together, from a vast array of sources, the secret and complex financial systems that support terror. ... A debt of gratitude is owed Rita Katz, the "anonymous" author of Terrorist Hunter, the story of one woman’s struggle to expose the activities of seditious operators within Islamic charities functioning in the USA. Like Emerson, she was a vox clamantis in deserto, a voice crying in the wilderness, for the abundant evidence she uncovered during a decade of determined investigation. Her book is essential to an understanding of how Islamic charities supported Islamist movements in the USA, but it has been largely ignored by Washington.
I liked this quote in Rumsfeld perplexed:
The military also has recognized that the insurgents are divided between hard-core militants who travel and locals who are "insurgents of opportunity," said a U.S. defense official.
"Al Qaeda’s use of the Internet is amazing," said Rita Katz. As one expert put it in the U.S. military journal Parameters: "We can say with some certainty, Al Qaeda loves the Internet."
Katz was quoted in a February 2005 article in Technology Review, entitled Terror's Server and summarized thusly:
Fraud, gruesome propaganda, terror planning: the Net enables it all. The online industry can help fix it.
In September 2005 she was on a panel discussion [video] at Tufts alongside Bruce Hoffman [video] and others [video, video]. In December 2005, NYT quoted her on the subject of attacks in Iraq.
About Katz, Hoffman says:
"It's essential to subscribe to her information service. If you're in this business these days, I don't know many people who don't."
In 2003, she was published in National Review; the article, Terror Tools, accused an organization known as IANA of being a terrorist front.
After the London bombings, her work appeared there again:
while many details are still obscure about yesterday’s attacks in London, the elements for such an attack have long been in place across Britain. The asylum awarded jihadists by that country may be just one of its dangerous flaws in the fight against Islamic extremism. Islamists have long harnessed the ability to wage jihad across the globe from Britain, and the recent attacks are no more than a natural evolution of that process.
In the wake of the Madrid bombings, Katz said:
in most cases, it does not really matter who claims responsibility for what. "My problem today is when people ask me, 'Is it Al-Qaeda or not Al-Qaeda?' -- the main problem is really to define what Al-Qaeda is today," she said. "I see Al-Qaeda as more of a movement, as an idea that was adopted by many organizations."
This was an interesting piece of news I missed last month: Zarqawi replaced as al Qaeda chief:
"This was not a demotion, as [Zarqawi] from the get-go viewed Iraq as only a springboard to the global jihad aimed to establish a worldwide caliphate," Ms. Katz said. "He must have felt the time was ripe to delegate the local Iraqi struggle to a local organization, while he continued to pursue the next stages of the plan."
Katz had an op-ed in the Globe:
ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI has suddenly disappeared. As briskly as he has emerged, the Jordanian high school dropout who became the undisputed leader of the Iraqi insurgency has descended into obscurity. Where is the man who singlehandedly created from scratch a formidable guerrilla army in occupied Iraq and whom Osama bin Laden called the Emir of Al Qaeda in Iraq?
Crafts website hacked by terrorists, from earlier this month:
A plumber who loves glass etching, Andrew Roberge had crafts to sell. His son, Mike, knew Web design. Carriage House Glass is the marriage of their talents, an online catalog of sandblasted vases and goblets that ''caters to those who love beautiful and unique gifts," the site proclaims.
But the website, which they started four years ago, offered more than just beautiful baubles, specialists in terrorism say. The site contained hidden files filled with the radical writings of a top aide to Osama bin Laden, including ''The International Islamic Resistance Call," Abu Musab al-Suri's 1,600-page manifesto advocating jihad.
"We know that Al Qaeda and the jihadist online community is quite sophisticated," said Katz.
Here's an interesting thread that couples back into the computer security debate along the knowledge-versus-action axis:
Rita Katz, an expert on Islamic terror sites and director of the Washington, D.C.-based Search for International Terrorist Entities, believes a website that posts an execution should be taken out immediately. No matter what the implications are for free speech or other nation's laws, she said.
"There is no good, no value in those sites to exist anymore," said Katz. However, Katz promotes the theory that some terror sites, especially those whose servers are in the United States, should remain up and running for intelligence purposes.
That's a classic problem in intelligence. You may recall it popping up in Cryptonomicon. She also mentioned in an AJC article:
So, should Internet sites that purvey such information be closed down? "That is not a smart thing to do," said Katz, arguing that such a move would be counterproductive.
"When Web sites are taken down, they quickly reappear with the same content but greater security, making them much more difficult to monitor," she said.
She was an invited speaker earlier this month at the 2nd Annual National Intelligence Conference & Exposition, where she gave a talk on "Entrepreneurial Undercover Operations and Counterterrorism." She asks:
Why has the most extensive information regarding terrorist activities within the United States emanated from the private sector - entrepreneurial reporters and investigators - rather than from the government?
She was interviewed by the media in the Netherlands.
In 2004, the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver prepared a profile of Katz. This part was interesting:
"They sued me for looking though their garbage several years ago. I tried to understand what was going on. I found documents which explained to me that all the companies in the building have one connection, and that is Saudi Arabia."
How did you collect the documents?
"I took with me some young men and a truck and we came to collect the garbage in the middle of the night, dressed in black with gloves and garbage bags. I found the connection with the Saudi families that finance these organizations, and that was where I started. It's mainly one very rich family who controls banks, poultry farms, print, textile, and plastics, anything you can think of. Two of the companies sued me because they own the building, but the same people run the different firms and organizations."
Here is another comment on that:
In March 2002, federal agents raided several companies operating in a single office at 555 Grove St. in Herndon.
The "companies" in that building are the same ones Rita Katz (the "Terrorist Hunter") had a hand in taking down. She actually climbed into the dumpster at 555 Grove and took all their bags of garbage--they didn't think to shred their documents before tossing them in the trash.
At PBS Frontline, you'll find Technology and Terror: The New Modus Operandi By Andrew Becker
This essay explores how jihadis are using the Web, plus some of the cyber "tricks" used by terrorists to avoid detection and how the authorities can respond.
In 2004, she was apparently a witness in the trial of Sami Al-Hussayen. She was a witness for the prosecution. "Katz originally had been proposed as an expert witness, but instead is testifying merely as a fact witness."
In May 2005, she was on a panel session entitled "Terrorism Informatics" at the IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics, which was hosted by Georgia Tech. She also gave a talk entitled, "Advanced Methodologies for Analyzing Terrorists’ Use of Internet."
Katz and SITE were featured in the January/February 2005 issue of crime & justice international.
Here's a March 2003 article from SITE: The End of al Qaeda? [Word].
Al Qaeda's propaganda and recruitment program is now at its most intense in years on the web. We must face the reality that al Qaeda is not dead, but very much alive and thriving in people's minds and hearts.
Both Katz and Emerson were linked to Richard Clarke in his book, Against All Enemies.
Emerson and his former associate Rita Katz regularly provided the White House with a stream of information about possible Al Qaeda activity inside the United States that appears to have been largely unknown to the FBI prior to the September 11 terror attacks. This private pipeline of information—which began under President Clinton and continued under Bush even after September 11—irritated top officials at FBI headquarters, especially when much of the private research bore fruit and was later used to help develop a U.S. government list of banned organizations whose assets were frozen by the Treasury Department.
But the role of private researchers like Emerson and Katz is not just embarrassing to the FBI. It raises questions about a fundamental issue that is getting major attention from the independent commission investigating September 11: whether the FBI can ever really transform itself into a domestic intelligence agency that can identify terror threats inside the country before a crime has taken place.
That was from Michael Isikoff. Here's another, from February 2005.
In late 2003, she spoke at the Nixon Center, on "Islamist Networks in the United States."
At a luncheon at the Nixon Center, Rita Katz, author of Terrorist Hunter (2003) and director of the SITE Institute described the connections between Muslim charities, think tanks, university programs, advocacy groups, mosques, Saudi conglomerates, and terrorist organizations in the United States. These organizations, closely involved with Hamas, al Qaeda, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and others, have a long established presence in the U.S. through a complex and interlocking network.
A senior FBI official corroborated Ms. Katz’s descriptions of Islamic networks in the United States, asserting that her portrayal of the networks was "incredibly accurate."
In 2005, she spoke on Embassy Row at a course entitled, "Defending Against Terrorism: Open Source Data Mining and Internet Exploitation."
While digging, I found a few sites worth checking out. I haven't reviewed and certainly do not endorse them, but they seemed interesting enough to warrant a further look.
Infocult: Information, Culture, Policy, Education
The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society
The Jebsen Center for Counter Terrorism Studies
Infocon -- Daily News on Cybersecurity & Homeland Security Issues
internet haganah: Confronting the Global Jihad Online
What *is* Internet Haganah? Internet Haganah is a global open-source intelligence network dedicated to confronting internet use by Islamist terrorist organizations, their supporters, enablers and apologists. Internet Haganah is also a grass-roots activist organization which encourages businesses to not provide services to Islamic extremists. Finally, Internet Haganah is this website.
Intelli-Briefs bring you Intelligence briefs on Geopolitics , Security and Intelligence from around the world . We gather information and insights from multiple sources and present you in a digestible format to quench your thirst for right perspective, with right information at right time at right place.
Finding Quotations was never this Easy!
Jihad Watch ...
... is dedicated to bringing public attention to the role that jihad theology and ideology plays in the modern world, and to correcting popular misconceptions about the role of jihad and religion in modern-day conflicts. We hope to alert people of good will to the true nature of the present global conflict.
Project for the Research of Islamist Movements
The Project for the Research of Islamist Movements - PRISM - was founded by Reuven Paz in 2002, in order to combine academic and field research of new developments of radical Islam and Islamist movements. The project is part of the GLORIA Center in the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
World Money Laundering Report: Online
South Asia Analysis Group