ISIS On The Unchecked Dark Web

ISIS is using PlayStations, encryption apps and more to increasingly avoid detection online. CIA director John Brennan is bucking limits on surveillance. The debate is on, again.

CIA Director John Brennan speaks at the Global Security Forum 2015, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

CIA Director John Brennan speaks at the Global Security Forum 2015, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The drama in Paris was by no means over before U.S. CIA chief John Brennan was complaining he needs more freedom to spy. Calling the struggle over privacy and surveillance in the years since 9/11 “hand wringing.” Talking “wake-up call.” American spies want a backdoor into Silicon Valley’s exploding encryption options. ISIS does appear to be using them well.Tor. Telegram. Kik. Even Sony Playstation. There’s no proof they helped Paris happen. But the debate is back on. This hour On Point — the dark web, ISIS, privacy, spying and freedom – all back on the table.

— Tom Ashbrook


Sheera Frenkel, cybersecurity reporter for BuzzFeed News. Former Middle East Correspondent for BuzzFeed News and NPR News. (@sheeraf)

Aaron Brantly, professor of international relations at West Point. Research fellow at the U.S. Army Cyber Institute.

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director and director of the Center for Democracy at the American Civil Liberties Union. (@JameelJaffer)

Dakota Wood, senior research fellow in defense programs at the Heritage Foundation.

From Tom’s Reading List

BuzzFeed News: ISIS Is Using Everything From Encryption To PlayStations To Avoid Being Spied On — “Tools range from the most basic — using encrypted messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Kik — to the more advanced use of gaming platforms to share messages between ISIS leadership in Iraq and Syria and cells awaiting orders in the West. U.S., Israeli, and Jordanian officials who spoke to BuzzFeed News over the weekend said they were aware of the methods and admitted that even though they had the ability to spy on some of that technology, it was like ‘looking for a needle in a haystack.'”

Small Wars Journal: Strategic Cyber Maneuver — “The state of maneuver warfare changes as weapons and technology evolve. No longer is it reasonable to maneuver in column in two opposing battle lines as in the Napoleonic Wars, modern weapons have changed the concepts of maneuver and made them increasingly more complex, nuanced and challenging.”

New York Times: After Paris Attacks, C.I.A. Director Rekindles Debate Over Surveillance — “In the United States, surveillance is the core issue for the security agencies combating the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and for the watchdog groups that monitor those agencies. In addition to the basic question of how much government snooping should be allowed, there is the particular concern among Muslims that they are being unfairly targeted.”

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