Islamic State Twitter Command Should Be U.S. Target, House Homeland Security Chair Says

W'e Need to Hit These Guys, These Cyber Commanders'

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Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, left, talks to Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, during a hearing.
Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, left, talks to Representative Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, during a hearing. Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The U.S. must target Islamic State terrorists' ability to use social media to inspire attacks on American soil, a top House Republican said on Sunday after five military service-members were killed last week in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Representative Michael McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that there are 200,000 Islamic State messages on Twitter per day that hit the U.S.

"What they are saying is 'attack military installations and attack police officers,' " Mr. McCaul of Texas said of what he described as the terrorist group's "cyber command" operating in Syria. "The chatter is so loud and the volume so high that it's a problem that's very hard to stop and disrupt in this country."

Four Marines and a U.S. Navy petty officer died in an attack on two military facilities in Chattanooga on July 16. The shooting suspect, Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, who was born in Kuwait and became a naturalized U.S. citizen, was also killed.

Federal authorities are investigating Mr. Abdulazeez's travel to Jordan and possibly other Middle East nations in recent years to see if he made contact with terrorist groups. So far, there's no indication that Mr. Abdulazeez was inspired by Islamic State, although the investigation is continuing, Ed Reinhold, the FBI special agent in charge of the probe, said at a news conference on Friday.

The Chattanooga attack has escalated concern among law enforcement authorities over the risk of home-grown extremism, weeks after the U.S. -- according to FBI Director James Comey -- foiled an undisclosed number of terrorist plots tied to the Independence Day holiday. Stopping lone attackers inspired by international terrorist groups including Islamic State is a priority across the U.S. and other Western countries.

"We need to take the fight over there a little stronger," Mr. McCaul said. "And we need to hit these guys, these cyber commanders, that are sending these internet directives out to attack, attack, attack in the United States."

~ Bloomberg News ~

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