Al-Qaeda Websites Oddly Go Dark for 11 Days

Ex-State Department official: 'It looks like a takedown'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2012 6:54 PM CDT
Online Al-Qaeda Forums Offline for 11 Days
An online video from 2009 shows former al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden.   (AP Photo/IntelCenter)

Al-Qaeda's most popular web forums have gone dark for 11 days now in what experts are calling a likely cyber attack, the Washington Post reports. "It sure looks like a takedown," said a former State Department official. If website administrators were dealing with mere technical glitches, they would "get on another site and say we’ve got administrative problems." But so far, no one is taking responsibility for the longest non-stop outage of al-Qaeda's chat rooms since they started operating in 2004.

“It’s a good thing whenever a terrorist Web site goes offline,” said one US official—but others have argued that such takedowns prevent Western agents from gathering valuable intelligence. Judging by comments on other Arabic-language forums, al-Qaeda lovers are not happy: One wrote that "life without [these websites] is unbearable. . . . They are the Titanic supporting the foundation for the triumphant sects fighting in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia." But another vowed that "the forums will return." (More al-Qaeda stories.)

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