Killing the messenger: targeting Islamic State’s operatives who plot foreign attacks online

Thomas Joscelyn
5th May 2017 - Quoted by W.J. Hennigan - Los Angeles Times

The months-long manhunt for French-born Rachid Kassim ended one chilly morning early this year when a drone-launched missile destroyed his battered white pickup truck as it motored through the besieged Iraqi city of Mosul.

The 29-year-old former rapper had cast a grim shadow in international counter-terrorism circles. He spoke fluent French, once beheaded a man in an online video and allegedly helped organize or encourage nine terrorist plots — nearly all unsuccessful — in France last year.

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U.S. efforts to counter extremist messaging has largely failed so far, said Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

"The U.S. government needs a systematic campaign to undermine the messaging," he said. "So far any effort to do that has flat out failed."

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