Internet service provider Burst.net has taken WordPress-based blog host Blogetry.com offline after FBI agents informed the ISP the blog site was hosting al-Qaeda materials. The Blogetry service claims to host more than 70,000 online blogs; although the FBI has not commented on the investigation, sources indicate that the agency did not demand that the Blogetry site be shut down, but that the action was taken by Burst.net on its own initiative.
Additional sources indicate the FBI informed Burst.net that materials on Blogetry included bomb-making instructions, a list of American citizens targeted for assassination by al-Qaeda, as well as messages from al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. The FBI sent BurstNet a “Voluntary Emergency Disclosure of Information” request, which notes ISPs and other communications providers may voluntarily disclose information to law enforcement agencies under some circumstances without a court order.
“Upon review, BurstNet determined that the posted material, in addition to potentially inciting dangerous activities, specifically violated the BurstNet Acceptable Use Policy,” BurstNet said in a statement. “This policy strictly prohibits the posting of ‘terrorist propaganda, racist material, or bomb/weapon instructions.’ Due to this violation and the fact that the site had a history of previous abuse, BurstNet elected to immediately disable the system.”
BurstNet did not detail what “previous abuse” it attributed to Blogetry.
BurstNet’s decision to take down the entire Blogetry service apparently stems from an English language online magazine named Inspire, targeting aspiring jihadists in Britain and the United States. Sources indicate Inspire is believed to have been created by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born al-Qeada leader believed to currently be based in Yemen. Reports in the New York Times and elsewhere have Awlaki recently being added to the United States’ “kill or capture” list.
Some Blogetry.com bloggers have been crying foul, claiming that they have been denied access to their perfectly lawful materials, and have had service summarily terminated without warning or any opportunity to back up or migrate their materials.