The SITE Institute—"Search for International Terrorist Entities"—was co-founded in 2002 by Rita Katz and Josh Devon. "Studying the primary source propaganda, training manuals, and chatter of terrorists offers insight into terrorists and their activities that can not be obtained anywhere else. Failing to monitor terrorist propaganda is a failure in intelligence. To fulfill this need, the SITE Intelligence Group offers its Monitoring Service, which provides numerous daily translations of terrorist propaganda and multimedia from primary source terrorist websites," its website states.
- 1 Government funding
- 2 Controversy
- 3 Website info
- 4 Staff
- 5 Contact information
- 6 Resources
However, SITE states on its Internal Revenue Service Forms 990 that it claims tax-exempt status because the "Organization receives compensation for services provided under contract to the Government of the United States on an Arms-Length basis at fair market value" and "the organization believes such work is consistent with its exempt purposes", in 2003 and 2004 the organization "earned more than $500,000 from the GOVERNMENT", with "over $273,000" coming directly from taxpayers in 2004, Berni McCoy reported September 10, 2007, in his Democratic Underground journal.
Eamonn Fitzgerald wrote September 6, 2006, that his Rainy Day blog "does not subscribe to the 'Intelligence Service' offered by Rita Katz. Although convinced that evil has to be opposed, we don't have the pressing need to spend $2,500 a year on 'real-time information on terrorist activity to aid you in tracking the terrorist threat.' But others do and Katz's clients include the media and people on the frontline in the War on Terror."
- SITE "has garnered wide attention by publicizing statements and videos from extremist chat rooms and Web sites, while attracting controversy over the secrecy of SITE's methodology."
- "Federal agencies, including the National Security Agency, the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, monitor suspected terror sites on the Internet and sometimes track users. Private groups like Ms. Katz's Search for International Terrorist Entities Institute and The Middle East Media Research Institute are also keeping track of the ever-changing content of these sites. Ms. Katz's institute, which relies on government contracts and corporate clients, may be the most influential of those groups, and she is among the most controversial of the cyberspace monitors. While some experts praise her research as solid, some of her targets view her as a vigilante. Several Islamic groups and charities, for example, sued for defamation after she claimed they were terrorist fronts, even though they were not charged with a crime," the New York Times reported September 23, 2004.
9/11 "bin Laden" video
In early September 2007, SITE announced that Osama bin Laden would release a video message on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Bloomberg News also reported that IntelCenter, another web monitoring service, noted that al Qaeda's media production group as-Sahab flagged the video in an online media statement. While Bloomberg reported only that the video would be released, the Associated Press stated that "the 30-minute video was obtained by the SITE Institute" and had provided a copy to the AP. The report stated that "American officials said the U.S. government had obtained a copy even though the video had not been posted yet by al-Qaeda". AP noted that "during the video, bin Laden's image moves for only a total of about 3 1/2 minutes in two segments, staying frozen the rest of the time while his remarks continue." An anonymous U.S. intelligence official told the AP it may have been a technical glitch that occurred during production. While the video was intercepted by US intelligence agencies, its provision to SITE Institute may have been a boon to the small group, which only made it available on its website to subscribers. However, Fox News released a transcript of the tape.
A little over a month later, the Washington Post reported that SITE had given the video to two senior officials "on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release." SITE's Rita Katz complained to reporter Joby Warrick that within 20 minutes of providing access to it on the group's website, several government agencies began downloading it. "By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide," Joby Warrick wrote. "Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless," Katz said. 
Endorsed by Blackwater
Listed under "Security for the Professional", sponsored by Blackwater Security Consultants, Blackwater USA cites SITE Institute as "An Invaluable Resource" in its May 9, 2005, Blackwater Tactical Weekly newsletter.
Accessed October 9, 2007, the SITE website seems to be an aggregator of publicly-available data on the internet, mostly consisting of current news items, including but not limited to:
- A "Terrorism Libary", which on cursory investigation, looks to be a straight data scrape from the U.S. Department of State's Patterns of Global Terrorism - 2003, Appendix B, although there is a link entitled "December 14, 2005" that redirects to an empty page.
- There are only six confirmed "Terrorist Websites" listed by SITE, all of which are cited in the 2003 "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report: Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Hamas, Izza Deen al-Qaasam (Hamas military wing) Hizballah, Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Islamic Army of Iraq.
- Not listed are any websites related to al Qaida.
- The website also includes audio, video, publication and news links, some of which include the statement "translation of the chapter is provided to our Intel Service members".
- SITE Publications include two "Intelligence Briefs" entitled "Background of Online Jihadists Arrested in Saudi Arabia," dated June 12, 2007, and "The Rise of Fatah al-Islam," dated June 5, 2007.
The listed staff consists of two individuals:
4200 Wisconsin Aveue NW
Washington, DC 20016
Phone: 202 244-2900
Fax: 202 237-7700
Email: feedback AT siteinstitute.org
Related SourceWatch articles
- Ben N. Venzke
- Laura Mansfield
- MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
- Steven Emerson
- war on terrorism
- SITEInstitute.org, accessed October 9, 2007.
- Form 990: SITE Institute, Inc., Federal Tax Return for January 10-December 31, 2003.
- Form 990: SITE Institute, Inc., Federal Tax Return for 2004 (no inclusive dates cited).
- Berni McCoy, "SO, A 'Charitable Organization' (The SITE Institute) Released the Bin Laden Video...," Berni McCoy's Journal/Democratic Underground, September 10, 2007.
- Eamonn Fitzgerald, "Counter jihad," Fitzgerald's Rainy Day Blog, September 6, 2006.M=
- Joby Warrick, "Leak Severed a Link to Al-Qaeda's Secrets. Firm Says Administration's Handling of Video Ruined Its Spying Efforts," Washington Post, October 9, 2007.
- Eric Lipton and Eric Lichtblau, "Even Near Home, a New Front Is Opening in the Terror Battle," New York Times, September 23, 2004; see page 2.
- Jeff Bliss, "Osama Bin Laden to Issue Video on 9/11 Anniversary (Update1)", Bloomberg News, September 6, 2007.
- "Bin Laden slams global capitalism in new video", Associated Press (USA TODAY), September 6, 2007.
- “The Solution” – A Video Speech from Usama bin Laden Addressing the American People on the Occasion of the Sixth Anniversary of 9/11 – 9/2007," SITE Intelligence Group, September 8, 2007.
- Transcript of bin Laden (pdf), Fox News, accessed October 2007.
- Joby Warrick, "Leak severs link to al-Qaeda’s secrets. Firm says Bush administration’s handling of video ruined its spying efforts," Washington Post, October 9, 2007.
- Blackwater Tactical Weekly for May 9, 2005, Blackwater USA, accessed October 9, 2007.
- Terrorism Library, SITEInstitute.org, accessed October 9, 2007.
- Appendix B, "Patterns of Global Terrorism - 2003."
- Terrorist Websites, SITEInstitute.org, accessed October 9, 2007.
- News, SITEInstitute.org.
- Article example, SITEInstitute.org, accessed October 9, 2007.
- "Background of Online Jihadists Arrested in Saudi Arabia," SITE Institute, June 12, 2007.
- "The Rise of Fatah al-Islam," SITE Institute, June 5, 2007.
Articles by Rita Katz and Josh Devon
- Rita Katz and Josh Devon, "Getting at the Whole Network," National Review Online (SITE Institute), August 20, 2002.
- Josh Devon and James Mitre, "The Man Behind the Curtain. Why is Adel Batterjee free to fund terror?" National Review Online, October 28, 2002.
- Rita Katz and James Mitre, "Collaborating Financiers of Terror. Hamas and al Qaeda," National Review Online (SITE Institute), December 16, 2002.
- Rita Katz and Josh Devon, "Terror Tools. Saudi-funded front in Michigan," National Review Online, March 11, 2003.
- Rita Katz, Op-Ed: "The coming new wave of jihad," Boston Globe, March 13, 2006.
- Rita Katz and Josh Devon, "Perilous Power Play. FBI vs. Homeland Security," National Review Online, May 27, 2003.
- Rita Katz and Josh Devon, "WWW.J I H A D.COM. E-Groups abused by jihadists," National Review Online, July 13, 2003.
- Rita Katz and Michael Kern, "Terrorist 007, Exposed," Washington Post, March 26, 2006.
- Rita Katz and Josh Devon, "Osama's olive branch to Shi'ites," MuslimBrotherhood.co.uk, July 26, 2006.
- Rita Katz and Josh Devon, "Web Of Terror. Al Qaeda and its allies are exploiting the Internet to recruit and plot havoc. Here's how we can stop them," Forbes, May 7, 2007.
- Rita Katz and Josh Devon, Op-Ed: "Franchising Al Qaeda," Boston Globe, June 22, 2007.
Note that the SITE Institute, most frequently represented by Rita Katz, is either cited or mentioned in all of the following articles.
- Adrian Humphreys, "U.S. uncovers Canadian links to Islamic Jihad. Financing and visa fraud: Solicitor-General says allegations are 'disturbing'," National Post (Canada) (ZoomInfo cache file), February 21, 2003.
- Yitzhak Ben Horin, "Rita Katz and Her War on Islamic Terror," Maariv (SITE Institute), June 1, 2003.
- "MAS Freedom Supports Lawsuit Against CBS 60 Minutes’ 'Terrorist Hunter'," Muslim American Society, June 6, 2003.
- "60 Minutes Sued Over Report," Muslim American Society, June 7, 2003.
- John F. Sugg, "Tonight on 60 Minutes: Terrorist Chicken Laundering," Creative Loafing (AlterNet mirror) (Atlanta), June 12, 2003.
- Marc Perelman, "Muslim Charities Sue CBS, Investigator. Organizations Designated as Sponsors of Al Qaeda File Libel Suit," The Forward, June 13, 2003.
- Laura Rozen, "Forums Point the Way to Jihad," WIRED, August 6, 2003.
- Niles Lathem, "Al-Qaeda Terror.com," New York Post (FrontPageMag.com), September 16, 2003.
- 60 Minutes Libel Lawsuit Section Index: "Heritage Education Trust and Safa Trust (Plaintiffs) v. Rita Katz, a.k.a. "Anonymous," a.k.a. "Sarah" a.k.a. "Terrorist Hunter", Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Institute, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., CBS News Communications, Inc., and Bob Simon, c/o CBS Broadcasting, Inc. (Defendants), October 2003.
- Susan Jacobson, "Islamic Conference Speaker Draws Drath," Islam Daily, January 2, 2004.
- "Al-Qaida terrorists leaving Iraq? Campaign apparently backfiring politically due to Muslim deaths," WorldNetDaily, January 23, 2004.
- John Sugg, "The FBI is on My Trail. They Want to Question Me About Lies Sami Al-Arian Allegedly Told, But What About the Lies Al-Arian's Enemies Fed the Government and the Tampa Tribune?" CounterPunch, March 11, 2004.
- "World: Investigators Analyzing Credibility Of Madrid Bombing Claims," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 19, 2004.
- Bob Fick, "Jurors in student's terrorism trial can view Web sites," Associated Press (USA TODAY), May 14, 2004.
- Betsy Z. Russell, "Consultant gives limited testimony", Idaho Spokesman Review, May 16, 2004
- Jaye Watson, "Poultry Plant Subject of Terror Probe," WXTV TV, Channel 11 (Atlanta), last modified June 30, 2004.
- Tom Spring, "Al Qaeda's Tech Traps. Investigations, arrests highlight how technology aids and weakens terror network," PC World (About.com), September 1, 2004.
- David Talbot, "Terror's Server. Fraud, gruesome propaganda, terror planning: the Net enables it all. The online industry can help fix it," Technology Review, February 2005. See page 4.
- Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, "Virtual Jihad. Radical Islamic Web sites are encouraging their supporters to wage holy war online. Their exhortations underscore U.S. vulnerability to cyberterror," Newsweek/MSNBC, February 10, 2005.
- Robert F. Worth, "Jihadists Take Stand on Web, and Some Say It's Defensive," New York Times, March 13, 2005.
- Martha Zoller, "Operation Green Quest Comes To Georgia," WDUN News 550 AM (Gainsville, Ga.), April 15, 2005.
- Timothy H. Edgar, National Security Policy Counsel for the ACLU, Testimony at an Oversight Hearing on the Implementation of the USA (pdf), Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security of the House Committee on the Judiciary, April 19, 2005.
- Anna Badkhen, "Explosion of violence -- but why? Experts disagree on insurgents' intent," San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 2005.
- Steve Coll and Susan B. Glasser, "Terrorists Turn to the Web as Base of Operations," Washington Post, August 7, 2005.
- Dexter Filkins, "Complexity of Iraq insurgency helps it to survive," International Herald Tribune, December 2, 2005.
- Bill Weinberg, "Anatomy of Iraq's insurgency," World War 4 Report, December 3, 2005.
- Rick Jervis, "Iraq insurgents escalate war of words on cyber-battlefield," USA TODAY, December 6, 2005.
- "Top Terrorism Experts to speak at the Opening of Fletcher’s Jebsen Center for Counter Terrorism Studies Fred Fielding, member of 9/11 Commission, to deliver opening address," The Fletcher School, Tufts University, January 23, 2006.
- Khadija Abdul Qahaar, "SITE Institute, MEMRI Spread Bogus Intelligence Reports Of Fresh Attacks in US," Jihad Unspun, March 12, 2006.
- "NYT: SITE gives Dexy translations, he gives them play -- None dare call it reporting," The Common Ills Blogspot, March 25, 2006.
- Yuki Noguchi and Sara Kehaulani Goo, "Terrorists' Web Chatter Shows Concern About Internet Privacy. Groups Advise Members on Anonymity, Avoiding Intercepts," Washington Post, April 13, 2006.
- Richard Miniter, "Zarqawi Boldly Emerges From The Shadows," The New York Sun, April 26, 2006.
- Benjamin Wallis-Wells, "Annals of Terrorism. Private Jihad. How Rita Katz got into the spying business," The New Yorker, May 29, 2006.
- George Smith, "The Annals of Terrorism: Abandon all skepticism," Dick Destiny Blog, June 6, 2006.
- Robert F. Worth, "Mideast Analysis, Fast and Furious," New York Times, June 18, 2006.
- "Video 'shows tortured US troops'," BBC News, July 11, 2006.
- Edward Wong, "Jihadists split on Islam's true enemy," International Herald Tribune (SoutheastAsianMedia.net), July 22, 2006.
- "Up to 40 Russian Special Troops Annihilated, Wounded in Chechnya," Chechen Press (UK), July 23, 2006.
- Andrew Cochran, "New Tape by Ayman al-Zawahiri Released (updated 7/27 with translation)," Counterterrorism Blog, July 27, 2006.
- James Forest, "Exclusive: The Internet and Global Terrorism," Family Security Matters, September 1, 2006.
- "Zawahiri Attacks Bush in New Video Posted on Web," Associated Press (Fox News), September 29, 2006.
- Stewart Bell, "Al-Qaeda warns Canada. Quit Afghan mission or endure attack like 9/11, threat says," National Post (Canada), October 28, 2006.
- Jon Harding, "Nexen denies Yemen facility damaged by bombing," Financial Post (Canada), November 9, 2006.
- Richard Allen Greene, "Christian video game draws anger," BBC News, December 14, 2006.
- Nadia Abou el-Magd, "Group Says al-Qaida No. 2 Mocks Bush," Associated Press (BreitBart.com), January 22, 2007.
- Ernesto Londoño, Joshua Partlow and Karen DeYoung, "Contractor Helicopter Downed in Iraq. 5 Killed as Guards Respond to Attack on Embassy Convoy," Washington Post, January 24, 2007.
- "Bush's Iraq troop increase a doomed gamble-Zawahri," Reuters, February 13, 2007.
- "Qaeda urges Palestinians leave Fatah, embrace Islam," Reuters (UK), February 13, 2007.
- Inal Ersan, "Bush’s Iraq troop surge a doomed gamble, says Al-Zawahri," Reuters (Daily Star (Egypt)), February 13, 2007.
- Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, U.S. House of Representatives: "The Online Jihadist Threat" written by Rita Katz, Director, SITE Institute, and Josh Devon, Senior Analyst, SITE Institute, February 14, 2007.
- Aomar Ouali, "23 Dead in 2 Bombings in Algeria," Associated Press (San Francisco Chronicle; Algeria-Watch.org), April 11, 2007.
- Mark Trevelyan, "Lebanese militants cheered on al Qaeda Web sites," Reuters AlertNet, May 25, 2007.
- "Al Qaeda's American Flack in New Video," New York Daily News, May 29, 2007.
- "Terror Group Claims U.S. Soldiers Captured in Iraq Were Killed," Associated Press (Fox News), June 4, 2007.
- "Video: Missing soldiers killed; search to continue," USA TODAY, June 4, 2007.
- Deborah Haynes, "Video emerges of US soldiers' abduction," Times Online (UK), June 4, 2007.
- Brian Krebs, "Terrorism's Hook Into Your Inbox. U.K. Case Shows Link Between Online Fraud and Jihadist Networks," Washington Post, July 5, 2007.
- "Al-Qaida chief's 'renewed jihad call'," inthenews (UK), July 5, 2007.
- Brian Krebs, "Three Worked the Web to Help Terrorists. British Case Reveals How Stolen Credit Card Data Bought Supplies for Operatives," Washington Post, July 6, 2007.
- "German hostage freed in Iraq after five-month ordeal," Agence France Presse (TurkishPress.com), July 11, 2007.
- David Morgan, "U.S. Qaeda member threatens embassies, diplomats," Reuters, August 5, 2007.
- Jeff Bliss, "Osama Bin Laden to Issue Video on 9/11 Anniversary (Update1)," Bloomberg News, September 6, 2007.
- "Bin Laden slams global capitalism in new video," Associated Press (USA TODAY), September 6, 2007.
- "More on Who Makes the Terror Videos," The Truth Seeker, September 7, 2007.
- Lee Keath, "Bin Laden Urges Americans to Convert. Appearing for First Time in 3 Years, Bin Laden Urges Americans to Embrace Islam in New Video," Associated Press (ABC News), September 8, 2007.
- Jeff Bliss and Roger Runningen, "Bush Says Bin Laden Tape Shows Importance of Resolve (Update1)," Bloomberg News, September 8, 2007.
- Stefanie Balough, "Bin Laden in new video," Herald Sun (Australia), September 8, 2007.
- Warren P. Strobel, "Taunting video by bin Laden. Bush, Dems mocked as al-Qaida leader ends a long silence," McClatchy Newspapers, September 8, 2007.
- Frederick C., "Looky Looky, Kidz!!! Time For 'Better Know A MOSSAD Agent'," After Downing Street, September 8, 2007.
- Kurt Nimmo, "Israeli Connected SITE Institute Hypes Dead Grecian Formula Terrorist," PrisonPlanet.com, September 9, 2007.
- Jeffrey Bartholet, "Keeping an Eye on Al Qaeda. Rita Katz surfs jihadi websites for indications of terrorist activity. Her take on the latest Osama bin Laden videos—and the machinery that produced it," Newsweek/MSNBC, September 11, 2007.
- Keach Hagey, "Computer Geeks Scoop Al Qaeda. The Skinny: Internet Nerd Herd Often Beats U.S. (And Terrorists Themselves) To Bin Laden Videos," CBS News, September 12, 2007.
- "Bin Laden signs exclusive licensing agreement with Jewish media group," Wake Up From Your Slumber Blog, September 12, 2007.
- "This could be why people are pretty quiet about the latest 'AQ' releases," Missing Links Blogspot, September 21, 2007.
- Jeffrey Imm, "Al Qaeda Bin Laden Message Declares War on Pakistan President Musharraf," Family Security Matters, September 21, 2007.
- "Al-Qaida media recovers quickly," UPI, October 5, 2007.
- Alex Jones, "U.S. pulls plug on 6 al-Qaeda media outlets," USA TODAY (TruthNews.us), October 5, 2007.
- Joby Warrick, "Leak severs link to al-Qaeda’s secrets. Firm says Bush administration’s handling of video ruined its spying efforts," Washington Post, October 9, 2007.
- Randall Mikkelsen, "Bush administration denies leaking al Qaeda video," Reuters (ABC News), October 9, 2007.
- "White House denies leaking info that hurt Al-Qaeda spying," Agence France Presse (The Raw Story), October 9, 2007.
- Sarah Dilorenzo, "Group accuses US of al-Qaida video leak," Associated Press (USA TODAY), October 9, 2007.
- Eli Lake, "Qaeda Goes Dark After a U.S. Slip. Enemy Vanishes From Its Web Sites," New York Sun (PrisonPlanet.com), October 9, 2007.
- Maddy Sauer, "Windows Into Al Qaeda Online Still Open, Say Experts," The Blotter Blog/ABC News, October 9, 2007.
- Joe Sudbay, "White House leaked classified info to FOX News, tipped off al Qaeda to secret surveillance, destroyed year-long spy effort," AMERICAblog, October 9, 2007.
- Noah Schachtman, "Ex-Spies Blast Today's Spooks for Qaeda Breach," WIRED Blog, October 9, 2007.
- Mrs. Grayhawk, "Uh, About that 'Leak' That Burned Our al Qaeda Intel," The Jawa Report, October 9, 2007.
- Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel), "The Latest Terrorism Leak," The Next Hurrah Blog, October 9, 2007.
- kpete, "Is the Bush Administration paying to outsource intelligence to some lady in Jersey?" Democratic Underground Discussion Board, October 9, 2007.
- Joby Warrick, "U.S. Intelligence Officials Will Probe Leak of Bin Laden Video," Washington Post, October 10, 2007.
- Noah Schachtman, "Intel Director Launches Qaeda Leak Probe," WIRED Blog, October 10, 2007.
- Nick Farrell, "US Government stuffs up Al-Qaeda's server hack. American intel slips to new low," The Inquirer (UK), October 10, 2007.
- Kurt Nimmo, "Al-Qaeda: Sort of Like the Energizer Bunny," Another Day in the Empire Blog (TruthNews.us), October 10, 2007.
- "Al Qaeda Video Leaked by ABC Before SITE Email?" Mudville Gazette, October 10, 2007.
- "Rita Katz and S.I.T.E.: How two people can find out more than the CIA and FBI Combined," Wake Up From Your Slumber Blog, October 10, 2007.
- Eli Lake, "Al Qaeda Breach Called ‘Serious' but ‘Reparable'," New York Sun, October 12, 2007.
- "NaPo's Al Qaeda terror scoop, Part VI: Canadian Freeper picks up the story," Canadian Spectator, October 30, 2007 (issue).
- SITE Institute, Wikipedia.