Michael Steinbach, assistant director of FBI‘s counterterrorism division, spoke before the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday on the impact of the Internet and social media on the spread of terrorist messages.
Steinbach told lawmakers that terrorists such as the Islamic State group use technology to inspire and recruit individuals to either join other foreign fighters or orchestrate lone-wolf or small-scale attacks on U.S. and allied interests.
“[We] must adapt and confront the challenges, relying heavily on the strength of our federal, state, local, and international partnerships,” he said.
He said the Islamic State group uses a combination of traditional media platforms, social media campaigns and other materials such as photos and articles to communicate its propaganda.
These platforms help facilitate the group’s viral messaging and establish direct access to U.S. individuals, Steinbach noted.
He also highlighted FBI’s efforts to keep pace with the development of new Internet communication tools in an effort toward the lawful interception of communications and collection of information.
“This real and growing gap the FBI refers to as ‘Going Dark’ is the source of continuing focus for the FBI; it must be urgently addressed as the risks associated with Going Dark are grave both in traditional criminal matters as well as in national security matters,” Steinbach said.