The State Department is launching a new offensive against al-Qaeda, which entails a war of words on Yemeni websites.

The State Department is replacing al-Qaeda ads on Yemeni websites that brag about killing Americans, with ads showing the deadly impact of al-Qaeda tactics on Yemenis themselves, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said recently.

"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 program, called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, patrols the Internet and social media sites to counter al-Qaeda’s attempts to recruit new followers. "Together, they will work to pre-empt, discredit and outmaneuver extremist propaganda," Clinton said.

Instead of secretly hacking the websites, the State Department challenges the extremists in open forums, Clinton said. Yemen is considered a test case of the new counter-propaganda effort.

Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the U.S.-backed Yemen president who took power in February, has faced challenges from Saleh loyalists refusing to relinquish their government and military posts, as well as attacks from al-Qaeda. The U.S. recently dispatched new special operations forces to train Yemen’s army to fight al-Qaeda, who have killed hundreds of Yemeni troops.

Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is considered one of al-Qaeda’s most dangerous areas. Al-Qaeda there launched three foiled attacks on U.S. targets including the Christmas 2009 attempt to down an American airliner over Detroit with an underwear bomb and sending printer cartridges packed with explosives to Chicago-area synagogues in 2010. In the past month the CIA thwarted yet another plot by AQAP to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb that could have been undetectable by conventional airport scanners.

Related News

Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine,, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.