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.

 

Libya rivals meet for unity deal talks in Morocco

IS 'bulldozed' Iraq’s historic Nimrud

EU’s Mogherini 'Good deal' on Iran nuclear programme is near

Several Qaeda leaders killed in Syria regime attack

Dubai launches first 3D pavement art festival

South Sudan's warring leaders fail to reach deal

Some 28,000 ‘have fled’ Iraq's Tikrit

BP to invest $12 billion in Egypt gas fields

FBI calls for 'vigilance' against IS recruitment online

Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia reach basis of Nile water deal

Jewish tradition could help struggling Gaza farmers

Egypt Interior Minister replaced in cabinet reshuffle

Saudi Arabia urges coalition to fight jihadists 'on ground'

Algeria criminalises violence against women

Sisi replaces interior minister in cabinet reshuffle

Executions set 'unprecedented' pace in Saudi Arabia

Libya declares more than 10 oil fields ‘non-operational’ after IS attacks

Syria exiled opposition chief seeks to unite dissidents

US warns against sectarianism in Tikrit offensive

Thousands of Filipinos remain in Libya despite perilous situation

South Sudan peace talks hit deadlock ahead of deadline

Kerry seeks to allay Gulf states’ fears on Iran

Turkey will not take part in Iraq offensive to retake Mosul

Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen freed

Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

Mali rebel groups urged to sign peace deal

At least 34 dead in Syria rebel attack on intel HQ

Assad likens himself to Superman

Libya declares force majeure at 11 oil fields

Iran’s regional influence ‘not negiotiable’

Women protest for peace ahead of Israel election

Concerns rise over civilians’ safety in Iraq military operation

UN invites Libya leaders for crisis talks in Algeria

Israel to double water quota to Gaza ‘within days’

Abbas: Palestinians ready to talk with "whoever" wins Israel election

Fire at Cairo convention centre injures 19 people

US, Iran wrap up three days of intense nuclear negotiations

EU reviews policy in response to Ukraine, Arab Spring

IAEA delegation to hold talks in Tehran on March 9

Tunisia rescues 86 African migrants at sea

Saudi executing at 'unprecedented' pace

Turkish Airlines plane skids off Nepal runway

British former marine 'killed' in Syria

Iran slams boring Netanyahu's continuous lie-spreading in US speech

'Saudi prince' New York apartment on sale for $48.5m