Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held the hearing, “Jihad 2.0: Social Media in the Next Evolution of Terrorist Recruitment.” Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del), as prepared for delivery:

“As this Committee has discussed at a number of hearings over the years, the threats our country faces have evolved significantly since 9/11.

“After 9/11, the most acute terrorist threats came from Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda, which had orchestrated large, complex attacks from remote caves in Afghanistan. Today, Bin Laden is dead. The core of Al-Qaeda as we knew it has been dismantled.

“Unfortunately, Al-Qaeda’s affiliates in Yemen, Africa and Syria have filled the void. At the same time, new terror groups like ISIS present an immediate and different kind of threat to the United States both at home and abroad.

“While the threat of major aviation attacks still remains a top concern for American counter terrorism officials, the tactics employed by the groups who are targeting us have broadened and are not as focused on this attack method.

“Groups like ISIS, Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have used social media and online propaganda to spread their call to extremists here in America and around the world to carry out their own attacks against.

“Moreover, ISIS has seemingly perfected the ability to use social media to lure Western recruits to Syria for training. These new tactics mean that we can no longer rely solely on our ability to use military force to eliminate a terrorist threat. We must – in partnership with our allies overseas – start examining the root causes of why Westerners join the ranks and act in the name of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. We must continue to evolve our own counter terrorism tactics to address these root causes.

“Today, we will begin to examine the narratives put forward by these terrorist groups over social media, and also how those narratives are being used to influence vulnerable individuals here and in other Western countries. And, we will look for common-sense solutions that the government can employ to counter these groups’ narratives and to eliminate this tool from terrorists’ tool box. I look forward to a productive hearing.”