“Going Dark” is a relatively new term the FBI is using to note a growing trend and focus on their cyber security investigations especially when it comes to terrorist groups like ISIS and those who attacked Paris recently. Although contacts between these groups occur in publicly accessible social networking sites, the law enforcement agency sees more criminals and terrorists “Going Dark” by using encrypted private messaging platforms in their communications. A weekend Examiner analysis of the transcript from a Senate committee hearing a few days ago confirmed the activity.
“The terrorist threat has changed in two significant ways,” announced FBI Director Jim Comey, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “First, the core al Qaeda tumor has been reduced, but the cancer has metastasized.”
Comey told the Committee that the offspring of al Qaeda, including ISIS (ISIL), AQAP and others, are their primary focus.
“Second, we are confronting the explosion of terrorist propaganda and training on the Internet,” he continued. “It is no longer necessary to get a terrorist operative into the United States to recruit. Terrorists, in ungoverned spaces, disseminate poisonous propaganda and training materials to attract troubled souls around the world to their cause. They encourage these individuals to travel, but if they cannot travel, they motivate them to act at home.”
Comey cautioned that Going Dark is a “real and growing gap.” He insisted that this“must be addressed, since the resulting risks are grave both in both traditional criminal matters as well as in national security matters.”
The FBI Director revealed that in recent months ISIS (or ISIL, as the Obama Administration prefers to call them) “released a video, via social media, reiterating the group’s encouragement of lone offender attacks in Western countries, specifically calling for attacks against soldiers and law enforcement, intelligence community members, and government personnel.”
He noted that their intelligence and occurrences around the world the last few months show a “call to arms” that has boomed among terrorism supporters and sympathizers.
“The targeting of American military personnel is also evident with the release of names of individuals serving in the U.S. military by ISIL supporters,” Comey emphasized. “The names continue to be posted to the Internet and quickly spread through social media, demonstrating ISIL’s capability to produce viral messaging. Threats to U.S. military and coalition forces continue today. Social media also helps groups such as ISIL to spot and assess potential recruits.”
Troubling to many Americans is the fact that the White House has “decided not to seek a legislative remedy at this time,” but the FBI is working with private industries, various law enforcement agencies, and foreign partners to deal with these growing threats. Comey says their intelligence gathering helps them prioritize identified threats nationally and at each of the FBI’s 56 field offices.