The War on Terrorism Goes Online: Media and Government Response to First Post-Internet Crisis

By Andrew J. Glass

A paper by Andrew J. Glass, fall 2001 fellow, investigates the multifaceted role that the Internet played in the initial phases of the campaign against global terrorist networks. While the parameters of today’s online communications’ systems were in place during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, that relatively brief struggle occurred shortly before the advent of the World Wide Web and, consequently, before millions of people across the planet could access and exchange information in real time on Internet-enabled computers. Glass argues that some of the unique aspects of the post 9/11 Internet environment were already evident three months after the attacks. Moreover, broader questions of U.S. information policy have strong implications for the Internet, which can be made to respect national borders only under draconian conditions and that, in any event, would pose significant technical, legal and administrative challenges were they to be implemented.

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