It is rare the U.S. government would admit an hacking event as an effort of counter-terrorism.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters that Strategic Counterterrorism Communications staff at the State Department had successfully attacked Yemeni tribal websites that posted propaganda about Al Qaeda killing Americans.
The hacking was carried out apparently within 48 hours of those sites going live and replaced the original content with content that showed the "toll Al Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people," Clinton said. The response of the website operators was to question the credibility of content on websites stating that people should not believe everything they see and read on the Internet.
According to Clinton, the monitoring and hacking of sites comes as part of the strategy to limit radical Islamist ideology from spreading on the Internet and it appears that the U.S. government is taking the importance of such efforts more and more seriously. Using intelligence that leverages military and intelligence sources, Clinton said that online counter-terrorism is part of a larger effort, one that includes immediate strikes beyond actions like the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden as well as a diplomatic campaign to attract the support of local governments and train local forces.