Al Qaeda's leadership is suffering from a communication breakdown and struggling to issue directives after its computer network was hobbled in September, the Washington Post reports.
Four of the five main online forums that the terrorist group uses to communicate with followers were disabled on Sept. 10, monitors of the Web sites told the newspaper.
The loss to Al Qaeda is the equivalent of the Pentagon's and the White House's Web sites suddenly going offline, expert Evan Kohlmann told the Post, and it has left the propaganda strategy that Usama bin Laden and his followers rely on "hanging by a narrow thread."
Al Fajr Media Center, a support group created by Al Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups, issued a statement Sept. 29 saying that the forums were down for "technical reasons" and that Al Qaeda's followers shouldn't trust look-alike sites, the Post reported.
The report noted there have been several examples in recent years of extremist Web sites being attacked by hackers, though it isn't clear who the hackers are nor whether the United States is involved in the attempts to disable the terrorist communication network.