SITE Institute

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Not to be confused with SETI or SETI Institute.

The Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Intelligence Group is an organization that tracks the online activity of terrorist organizations.[1] The SITE Institute was founded in 2002 by Rita Katz and Josh Devon, who had left the Investigative Project (a private Islamist-terrorist tracking group).[2] In early 2008 it ceased its operations, and some of its staff formed the SITE Intelligence Group, a for-profit entity, to continue some of its activities.[3]

al-Qaeda tapes[edit]

  • July 4, 2007: A video by Ayman al-Zawahiri was obtained by SITE "ahead of its release on the internet by militant web sites".[4] It was "first reported by IntelCenter and SITE, two U.S.-based groups that monitor militant messages".[5] The video had been "provided by al-Qaeda's as-Sahab Media to IntelCenter".[6]
  • Sept. 7, 2007: SITE obtained a 30-minute video of Osama bin Laden and provided it to Associated Press. bin Laden's image is "frozen" for all but 3½ minutes of the tape.[7] SITE "beat al-Qaeda by nearly a full day with the release of the ... video".[8] The US government later pronounced the video authentic. See also: 2007 Osama bin Laden video.
  • May 3, 2011: The organization translated a lengthy statement signed by al-Qaeda's General Command that confirmed Osama bin Laden's death and promised retaliation for that death.[9]


On 30 May 2008, posted a story reporting that SITE had wrongly identified footage from the post-apocalyptic computer game Fallout 3 as being created by terrorists considering a nuclear attack against the West. According to the UK Telegraph, SITE found the Fallout 3 images in a video called "Nuclear Jihad: The Ultimate Terror," posted on two possibly al Qaeda-affiliated, password-protected websites, where it also gleaned chat logs from users discussing nuclear attacks on the West.[10] SITE 'released a statement to clarify its position, stating that it never claimed the images were produced by terrorists, although it didn't admit to knowing from the start that they were video game images.'[11] subsequently pulled the story from its website.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smith, Craig S. "Islamists Bring Fight to Capital of Algeria",The New York Times. April 11, 2007.
  2. ^ Benjamin Wallace-Wells, "Private Jihad: How Rita Katz got into the spying business", The New Yorker, May 29, 2006.
  3. ^ SITE Institute web site
  4. ^ Ross, Brian "New Video From Al Qaeda No. 2" (caption to video still), ABC News online, July 4, 2007.
  5. ^ Print version of ABC article[dead link]
  6. ^ Agence France Presse,"Al-Qaeda number two slams Hamas for seeking negotiations", July 4, 2007 (subscription required).
  7. ^ Associated Press, "New Usama Bin Laden Video Urges Americans to Convert to Islam", Fox News, Sept. 8, 2007.
  8. ^ Joby Warrick, "Bin Laden, Brought to You by ...", Washington Post, Sept. 12, 2007, p.A01.
  9. ^ Al Qaeda Confirms Bin Laden’s Death New York Times May, 3 2011
  10. ^ Kotaku [1], accessed 22 November 2010
  11. ^ Kotaku [2], 'SITE Refutes Fallout 3 Goof, Is Not "Red-Faced" [Oops]', May 30, 2008 Friday 4:20 PM EST
  12. ^ The story was at the following URL:'s-embarrassment-as-Islamist-'Washington-apocalypse'-image-turns-out-to-be-from-Fallout-3-game.html "Intelligence Group Mistakes Fallout 3 Screens For Terrorist Propaganda".

External links[edit]