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In Wake of Bombings, Strategy to Counter Online Radicalization in the Spotlight

The online activities of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the suspects charged with the tragic bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, indicate that the brothers viewed extremist messages online. Online networks provide an easy way for extremists to spread their message, give advice to new radicals, and plan attacks. Arguably, the use of the Internet to radicalize and recruit homegrown terrorists is the single-most important and dangerous innovation since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Recognizing this threat, the BPC Homeland Security Project, co-chaired by former 9/11 Commissioners Gov. Tom Kean (R-NJ) and Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN), released a report by Dr. Peter Neumann last December, Countering Online Radicalization in America, that identifies the shortcomings in U.S. online counter-radicalization strategy and recommends a path to improvement. The events at the Boston Marathon underscore the urgent need for the U.S. government to engage on this critical issue.