Twitter Kills: How Online Networks Became a National-Security Threat

Terrorist groups are using social media more and more to promote their causes. What should we do about it?

Rather than chasing shadows on the Web, the main thrust of an effective counterterrorism strategy ought to be directed toward crushing the bad guys. This approach to winning online probably goes for other malicious online competitors as well. Rather than get into a symmetrical struggle of “our” electrons versus “theirs”—an effort that usually involves sweeping censorship, massive data mining and continuous online propaganda—better to look at asymmetrical responses that can cripple a competitor’s human web. When the physical threat is diminished, the online threat is little more than an angry troll.

James Jay Carafano, the author of “Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World,” is a vice president of the Heritage Foundation. He directs the think tank’s research on national security and foreign affairs.