On Friday, a new report identified Chicago as a likely first target for the terror group, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to strike on American soil.
The new report, posted on the Drudge Report website claims that an ISIS member or supporter posted two pictures over Twitter, one taken at the Old Republic Building in Chicago located at 307 N. Michigan Ave, and the other at the White House in the U.S Capital.
U.S. Officials have known about the increasing threat of ISIS or ISIL for several years. The terrorist group ISIS was first known as al Qaeda in Iraq and other al-Qaeda inspired extremist groups.
However, in February, 2014, al-Qaeda leaders publicly renounced any affiliation with ISIS due to the terrorist group’s brutal tactics.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano first testified in September, 2010, that al Qaeda and affiliates were engaging “homegrown extremists,” young Westerners, including Americans via social networking sites such as YouTube. Secretary Napolitano warned:
“[that] skillfully contrived publications, persuasive messages in idiomatic English, and skillful use of the Internet may be helping to increase the number of homegrown violent extremists”.
Terrorism experts told the Senate panel that since the majority of Americans identified with YouTube (in 2010) and other social media, the Internet was increasingly an effective recruiting tool for terrorist groups.
American-born and -raised Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, dubbed the “Bin-Laden of the Internet” posted thousands of English videos, lectures, and sermons on YouTube. Among the nearly 3 million viewers of Al-Awlaki’s YouTube videos were the Christmas day 2009 underwear bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and the London bombers in 2005.
A report released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) in August, 2 010, found terrorist groups including the Taliban, al-Shabaab (Somalia) and the Caucus Emirate (Russia) regularly post videos on YouTube. Inappropriate videos such as these, “that incite others to commit violent acts” can be removed if “flagged” if reported by a concerned individual.
Additionally, the report stated that YouTube acts as a forum for Jihadists. One forum, the “Jihadi Fan Club,” expressed support for terrorist acts including the 9/11 attacks, was a recruitment tool for terrorist groups.
The difference, terrorism experts say is online forums where jihahists once did most of their communicating, Twitter and Facebook are open and public by nature making it easier for any fighter on the battlefield to pose next to mutilated bodies and post images that could easily be seen by anyone following the fighting.