Secretary of State Hillary Clinton disclosed news that U.S. cyber operatives recently hacked pro al-Qaeda propaganda websites in Yemen.
Clinton made the announcement while addressing an audience in Tampa, Florida, along with Admiral Bill McRaven who currently serves as ninth Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command.
The operation focused on changing violently anti-American content by injecting data related to the terrorist organization's crimes again Yemeni citizens, including death tolls.
"Within 48 hours, our team plastered the same sites with altered versions of the ads that showed the toll al Qaida attacks have taken on the Yemeni people,'' Clinton said.
The operation was initiated by the State Department as part of a multi-agency counter-terrorism strategy aimed at disrupting al-Qaeda's online recruitment and propaganda efforts.
“Extremists are publicly venting their frustration and asking supporters not to believe everything they read on the internet,” Clinton continued.
The Centre for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, made up of diplomats and analysts from several disciplines, coordinated the cyber assault and continue to comb the Internet for extremist activities.
“Together, they will work to pre-empt, discredit and outmanoeuvre extremist propaganda,” Clinton proclaimed.
For the most part, the Pentagon’s U.S. Cyber Command usually carries out cyber offensives, though they are rarely acknowledged publicly.
The targets were websites controlled by the terrorist faction Yemen’s al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who has recently stepped up anti-American propaganda and online recruitment efforts.