By Michael BirnbaumJune 25, 2018, 12:25:08By Michael Birnebruch, Senior Writer, The Washington TimesThe Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) is using a range of techniques to spread its message in the United States, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said on Monday, a day after the terror group claimed responsibility for a deadly shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the case, said that the terror organization is exploiting social media to spread propaganda, while also using new methods to recruit followers.
The official said that in the past year, it has increased the number of people it has contacted through social media, including through WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, and YouTube.
He said that they are also using encrypted messaging applications like Signal and Signal+ to make the communications easier for them to distribute.
“We are doing everything we can to help them, but the challenge is that we need to use our resources to prevent their ability to recruit,” the official said.
The senior U-S.
official, speaking on condition of not being identified by name because he is not authorized by the White House to discuss the investigation, said IS was able to recruit a large number of young men, some of whom were not even in high school.
He added that some of the recruits were “young, impressionable individuals” who had been influenced by IS ideology and had been “radicalized” through social networking.
The officials said the terror groups efforts were also successful in recruiting young men and that some recruits were already active in the terrorist group’s ranks.
In 2016, the Islamic group launched a series of attacks in the U.K. and France, killing dozens of people, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and then-French President Emmanuel Macron.
In January 2017, IS claimed responsibility to carry out an attack on a Russian airliner that killed all 224 people aboard, including a Russian security official.
In the same month, the terror network killed a Russian hostage and injured four hostages at a Russian resort in Egypt.
In November, the group also claimed responsibility over the deadly bombing of a nightclub in Berlin that killed 12 people.
The attack killed more than 100 people and wounded dozens more.