First Published: 2013-01-24

 

Clinton unveils US ‘new weapon’ to fight Qaeda: Social media

 

US State Department starts two organizations to deal with countering extremism on Internet, will use tools such as Twitter to combat anti-Americanism.

 

Middle East Online

‘Social media is a great tool’

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised Wednesday that the United States would use the Internet and social media in its fight against Al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamist groups.

The outgoing top diplomat said the US State Department had "started two organizations to deal with countering violent extremism" on the Internet, and would use tools such as Twitter to combat online anti-Americanism.

"Social media is a great tool," Clinton told lawmakers when speaking to Congress about the deadly attack on a US mission in Benghazi, Libya four months ago.

The new operation she has set up is "staffed with inter-agency experts," and "I'm not saying anything that's classified, but it's beginning to try to respond to Al-Qaeda and other jihadist propaganda.

"If they put up a video which talks about how terrible Americans are, we put up a video which talks about, you know, how terrible they are," Clinton said.

"We're trying to meet them in the media channels (in which) they are communicating with people."

Referring back to the Cold War era during "our fight against international communism," Clinton said media tactics had worked well and that in 2013 the United States would confront a similar challenge with an up-to-date strategy.

"We did a lot of things really well. I mean, we kept people's hopes alive, we communicated with freedom lovers and advocates behind the Iron Curtain. We did it through media, we did it through our values."

Clinton's testimony came on the eve of Thursday's Senate hearing to confirm her successor, John Kerry, who is expected to be easily voted in and could take over within days.

The outgoing Secretary insisted there was no cover-up of events in Benghazi, when dozens of heavily-armed Al-Qaeda-linked militants overran the US mission compound and a nearby CIA-run annex.

The incident set off an eight-hour firefight in which four people, including US ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.

 

US approves $7 billion in arms deals to Arab allies

US says 50,000 IS jihadists killed in Iraq, Syria since 2014

Six killed in Egypt bomb blast

British FM says Saudi, Iran engaging in 'proxy wars'

Qatar to invest up to $13bn on 'mega projects' in 2017

Regime air strikes resume on east Aleppo after 'pause'

Erdogan urges Turks to step up efforts to boost lira

IS kills 49 Syrian army members near Palmyra

UN says hundreds of Aleppo escapees missing, rebels block others from leaving

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ to have surgery in India

Israeli army admits Hezbollah map just ‘illustration’

Saudi soldier killed by landmine near Yemen border

Shadow of executed Shiite cleric looms in Saudi hometown

Russia vows no let-up in Aleppo assault while 'bandits' remain

400 migrants storm Spanish enclave border

IS claims Egypt cleric murders, threatens Sufis

UN Syria envoy planning to meet Trump team

Israel arrests alleged Hamas kidnap plotters

Greek court rejects extraditing last two Turkish 'coup' officers

Russian student faces jail after following IS lover to Syria

Yazidi leader calls on international community to help

UN reiterates fears for Aleppo children

Libya finds 266 IS bodies in former jihadist bastion Sirte

Turkey targets German diplomats at airports in revenge move

Aleppo White Helmets call for safe passage

Germany seeks to conclude training deal with Saudi

Egypt arrests son of former Islamist president

Israel joins forces with Greece, Cyprus to fight fire

Erdogan advisor says foreign TV chefs are spies

'No progress' in Kerry, Lavrov Syria meeting

Air force strikes IS fighters in western Iraq

Saudi arms self sufficiency may take years says chief

IS kills at least 26 Syrian regime fighters in Homs

Rosneft shares leap after deal with Glencore, Qatar

150 rescued from Aleppo health facility

Russia demands jail for student accused of trying to join IS

IS video reveals kidnapped British journalist alive

Two Hamas militants killed in Gaza tunnel collapse

Israel votes to approve settler homes bill

Dozens of civilians killed in Iraq air strike

Syrian regime confident of Aleppo victory

Libya's key oil region threatened by renewed fighting

Syria rebels call for Aleppo ceasefire

Rebel rockets scar west Aleppo residents

Egypt jails prominent NGO activist