This past weekend there were bombings and attempted bombings in New York and New Jersey. It was fortunate that no one died in the two bombs that detonated in New Jersey and Manhattan. 29 people were injured in the Manhattan bombing. It was even more fortunate that two other bombs, one in Manhattan and another in New Jersey, did not detonate. Through great police work and help from some astute citizens, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was arrested on Monday after a gun battle in which he was wounded.
As this story was unfolding on Sunday, I was driving home to Chicago from Detroit. We had the news on in the car listening in on the story. We learned how two bombs did not detonate. We learned that of the 29 people injured all were released from the hospital and thus none of their injuries was too severe. We also heard a lot of speculation on who might have done this and where they might have learned how to make such bombs.
Apparently, there are numerous websites that provide instructions on bomb making. My first thought was "Really? Who would have thought?" My second thought was, "Well, actually, that makes sense. There seems to be information on the internet for just about everything and anything from hobbies, to auto repair, to... well bomb making." My third thought was "Why the hell aren't we doing anything about these websites." I thought about an earlier post on the same subject to counter the jihadi websites by simply out marketing them: Who's Better at Social Media?
OK then. There are websites that instruct would-be Rahimis how to build a bomb. Presumably, our crack intelligence agencies know where these sites are. That is half the battle. If we know where such sites are, why haven't we taken them down? Why haven't we infected them with viruses that render the posting server and any visitor's system useless. We could create a virus that dials a potential jihadi registry from a visitor's cell phone. Maybe we already do these things but are clandestine operatives are actually keeping such practices clandestine. Maybe we aren't doing anything because of our commitment to free speech.? Maybe it is better to leave the sites up and monitor who visits them?
Just maybe, we just aren't thinking deviously enough. I say leave the sites up, but infiltrate them. Let's change the flipping bomb recipes to make them all duds. Heck, let's change the bomb instructions to actually make them blow up while the bad guys are building them. This would be both fun and preemptive. Perhaps, we add a few lines that say something like, "Congratulations on building your bomb. Now it is time to test it." Then we could provide instructions that would detonate the bomb and kill the builder. It would save lots of innocent lives not to mention the costs of hunting down the bomber after the fact. Furthermore, when a bomb goes off, the blast, smoke plume, and rubble would alert everyone to the location of a potential cell and the authorities can then investigate the family and friends of the ill fated bomb maker.
Clearly, per the reports I have heard, the jihadists are using the internet. All I am saying is let's use this information and develop methods to beat them at their own game.
Note: While I have heard about such recruitment websites and bomb building websites, I have never visited any of them. I have no interest in even searching for them. The last thing I would ever want to get on a government list or even worse a jihadi list of any kind... I mean I bought a pair of shoes online a year ago and that company sends me an email every day. How many shoes do they think I need or buy? I can only imagine what visiting one of these websites would result in.