Hacking for freedom: U.S. hacks al-Qaeda sites in Yemen

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says cyber hacking team replaces anti-American propaganda on site in a 48-hour period.

The war on terror has gone cyber.

The U.S. State Department has been hacking into al-Qaeda websites in Yemen to change al-Qaeda propaganda that bragged about killing Americans, according to an Associated Press report.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made mention of the covert cyber operations on Wednesday, saying a team of State Department hackers plastered al-Qaeda sites with with altered versions of the ads. These new ads portrayed how al-Qaeda attacks have affected the Yemeni people. The missions were carried out in a 48 hour-period.

"Extremists are publicly venting their frustration and asking supporters not to believe everything they read on the Internet," Clinton said at a conference of U.S. and international special operations commanders on Wednesday.

The hackers, based out of the Center for Strategic Counter-terrorism Communications, include diplomats, special operators and intelligence analysts. The team patrols the Internet and social media to counter al-Qaeda's attempts to recruit new followers.

The cyber effort is part of a "larger, multi-pronged attack on terrorism that goes beyond attacks like the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden to include the propaganda battle, and the longer, slower campaign of diplomats working alongside special operations troops to shore up local governments and economies and train local forces."

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