BOSTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) – Prosecutors will use Internet evidence to build a case against a Massachusetts man accused of providing material support to terrorists, authorities said.
Tarek Mehanna, 27, allegedly used his laptop and the Internet to radicalize and incite others to jihad – holy war – by translating and posting radical messages of violence online, The Boston Globe reported Monday.
It is thought to be the first use of Internet translations to support a case against an alleged terrorist, legal experts say.
We’re in novel territory when the weapon is a keyboard and not a bomb, Bruce Hoffman, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, said.
It becomes much more difficult to prove the impact of ideas, he said. Ten years ago it was very hard to imagine a case like this.
Others believe prosecutors are overstepping by calling Mehanna’s actions a federal crime, raising concerns of infringement of free speech and civil liberties, the Globe said.
There are going to be extremist views on the Internet, Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer, said. In a free society, you’re supposed to be able to read good material and despicable material.
No trial date has been set.