According to a majority of experts in the field of terrorism and counterterrorism, the presence of subversive groups and organizations on the internet has grown, and continues to grow at an alarming pace. Estimates on the number of active terrorist websites currently on the net vary. However, there is a consensus that the total number of websites has grown from under one hundred in 1996, to well over 5,000 today. In 2006, all active terrorist groups (including those organizations listed under the US Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996) have established their presence, in some form, on the internet. Indeed, the internet was a central tool used in the planning and coordination of the September 11th, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. As officials and experts now know, internet traffic use by terrorists and their associates spiked noticeably prior to the attacks, indicating the need to more effectively monitor and interpret the use of the internet by subversive groups such as Al Qaeda. This finding begs the question: What is the relationship between subversive groups and individuals (and more importantly terrorists) and the internet?

A Framework for Understanding Terrorist Use of the Internet