Probing the SITE Intelligence Group

beheading2By James F. Tracy

Since mid-August 2014 major news organizations have conveyed videos allegedly found online by the SITE Intelligence Group. Unsurprisingly the same media have failed to closely interrogate what the private company actually is and whether the material it promotes should be accepted as genuine.

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The Search for International Terrorist Entities Intelligence Group was co-founded by Rita Katz in 2001. Katz is an Iraqi-born Jew. Her father, an Israeli spy, was executed by Iraqis as a result of his intelligence activities.

In 2003 Katz authored a book, Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America, which she published using the pseudonym, “Anonymous.”

In the book Katz explains how she took on the trappings of a Muslim woman to infiltrate the meetings of radical Muslim terrorists. The plot is unlikely, especially when one considers that such secret fundamentalist gatherings are almost always segregated along gender lines and no woman, however elaborate her costume, would be granted entry without her identity being firmly established.

SITE Intelligence Group consists of Katz and two “senior advisers,” one of whom is Bruce Hoffman, the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and former director of the RAND’s Washington DC office.

The SITE Intelligence Group “constantly monitors the Internet and traditional media for material and propaganda released by jihadist groups and their supporters,” the company’s website announces. “Once obtained, SITE immediately translates the material and provides the intelligence along with a contextual analysis explaining the source of the material and its importance to our subscribers.”[1]

In 2003 and 2004, though claiming to be a 501c3 non-profit, SITE received more than $500,000 from the US government. Also in the early 2000s Katz received $150,000 from the FBI for consulting services.[2] A Guidestar search for nonprofits yields no recent records for SITE, suggesting how it has abandoned its non-profit status and now relies on corporate and individual subscriptions for revenue. In 2005 the private mercenary contractor Blackwater hailed SITE as “an invaluable resource.”[3]

The majority of “jihadist groups” operate one or more media outlets that produce and publish  “the group’s multimedia, and in some cases, communiqués and magazines,” SITE explains on its website. “These media units involve production teams and correspondents who report directly from the battlefield, and craft propaganda to indoctrinate and recruit new fighters into the group’s ranks.” SITE provides no direct links to the jihadist groups’ websites or multimedia productions from its own platform.[4]

Katz describes SITE as geared toward international Islamic jihad. In fact, it performs an international function akin to what a Southern Poverty Law Center or Anti-Defamation League do domestically–ferreting out and publicizing terrorist and “extremist” threats. “[W]e at SITE for over a decade monitor, search, and study the jihadists online,” she explains.

We have been studying and monitoring the jihadists online, which also as they get more sophisticated, we follow their techniques and study them. And based on that, we could predict where they will be uploading their video.

After all, we have to remember that much of this propaganda is being posted online. Their releases are released online [sic]. So they have to be able to use certain locations to upload their releases before they are published.[5]

Though routinely overlooked in the flurry of front-page coverage corporate media have allotted the three beheading videos–the most recent of which featured British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines–it is common knowledge that SITE uncannily secures terrorist statements and videos well before the US’s wide array of lavishly-funded intelligence services.

For example, as the Washington Post reported in 2007,

[a] small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7 … It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release. Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company’s Web site. 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.[6]

The video later proved to be fraudulent.

With the above in mind, one may ask, If parties within a US presidential administration or the State Department sought to bypass the potential scrutiny of a wide-ranging intelligence community concerning such matters, while simultaneously providing itself with the means to effectively propagandize the American public toward a broader end, what better way than to contract the services of an entity such as SITE?

beheadingIf there is some merit in the above appraisal, the arrangement is now being pushed to an extreme by the Obama administration to pave the road toward a long-sought goal: war with Syria’s Bashar Al Assad regime. Indeed, services such as SITE’s are a potent and valuable means for moving public opinion, as they have done in recent weeks concerning military action against the Islamic State. Along these lines, a decade ago both John Kerry and George W. Bush credited the latter’s re-election to a surreptitious appearance by Osama bin Laden via video tape several days before the vote.[7]

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Playing a role similar to SITE, IntelCenter acts as an intermediary between Al-Qaeda’s supposed media arm, As-Sahab, and major media. In other words, “they acquire the tapes and pass them on to the press, and have occasionally even predicted when tapes would be released beforehand,” Paul Joseph Watson reports.

“IntelCenter is run by Ben Venzke, who used to be the director of intelligence at a company called IDEFENSE, which is a Verisign company. IDEFENSE is a web security company that monitors intelligence from the Middle East conflicts and focuses on cyber threats among other things. It is also heavily populated with long serving ex-military intelligence officials.[8]

As noted, news outlets seldom see fit to closely analyze SITE or Katz concerning their research and function as conduits for terrorist propaganda. A LexisNexis search for SITE Intelligence in the article content of US newspapers and major world publications over the past two years produces 317 items—an admittedly low figure given the prominence of SITE’s recent disclosures. Yet a similar search for “Steven Sotloff” alone yields over 1,000 newspaper stories and 600 broadcast transcripts, suggesting the sensationalistic usage and effect of SITE’s data and how neither SITE nor Katz are called upon to explain their specific methods and findings.

Indeed, a similar search for “SITE Intelligence” and “Rita Katz” yields only 26 entries over a two year period. Of these, 14 appear in the Washington Post, a publication with well-established links to US intelligence. Four New York Times articles feature the combined entities.

In a CNN interview on the heels of the Sotloff beheading, Katz explains how again SITE curiously surpassed the combined capacities of the entire US intelligence community in securing the Sotloff footage.

“The video shows the beheading of Steven Sotloff,” Katz cautiously begins after being queried on the document’s authenticity.

The location from where the video was obtained from is the location where ISIS usually uploads their original videos to [sic]. The video shows a clear message from ISIS that follows the same message that it had before. And in fact within a short time after our release, ISIS’ account on social media indicated that within a short time [sic] they would be releasing the video, only we actually had that video beforehand and were able to beat them with the release (emphasis added).

This unusual statement alongside SITE’s remarkable abilities, should put news outlets on guard concerning the reliability of SITE statements.

Undoubtedly this is a great deal to ask from a news media that all too frequently participate in orienting public opinion toward war, a feat it has once again accomplished with the aid of SITE.

The interests and alliances of the transnational entities owning such media make them poised to profit from the very geopolitical designs drawn up by SITE’s corporate and government clients–the most important of which may be those seeking to broaden Middle Eastern conflict. No doubt, the widescale acceptance of such propaganda is also the result of the vastly diminished critical capacities of the broader public, now several decades in the making.


[1] “Services,” SITE Intelligence Group, , accessed September 15, 2014,

[2] Berni McCoy, “So, a ‘Charitable Organization’ Released the bin Laden Video,” Democratic Underground, September 10, 2007,

[3] “SITE Institute,”, Center for Media and Democracy, n.d.

[4] “Media Groups,” SITE Intelligence Group, n.d., accessed September 15, 2014.

[5] Karl Penhaul, Pamela Brown, Alisyn Camerota, Don Lemon, Paul Cruickshank, “Joan Rivers on Life Support; Chilling Words From ISIS Terrorist; How to Fight Radical Recruitment” (transcript), CNN, September 2, 2014.

[6] Joby Warrick, “Leak Severed a Link to Al Qaeda Secrets,” Washington Post, October 9, 2007.

[7] Paul Joseph Watson, “Another Dubious Osama Tape Appears When the Neo-Cons Need It Most,”, July 16, 2007.

[8] Ibid. See also, Kurt Nimmo, “Sotloff Video Found by Group Responsible For Releasing Fake Osama Bin Laden Video,”, September 3, 2014.

Republished at ActivistPost and on September 15, 2014.

34 thoughts on “Probing the SITE Intelligence Group”

  1. As usual, the normal who, what, when, where and why that is taught as basic M.I.A. on mainstream media. If we only point out these salient facts to those who are still asleep, maybe they will start asking questions, too.

    1. Ask too many questions, and the sensationalism factor would be lost, and people would be less gob-smacked than actually able to ask some pertinent questions.

      The primary one I have about this group is whether they have been involved in the countless stings that “net” these so-called terrorists.

      Clearly, it’s no skin off this woman Katz’s nose if she helps to turn the US into another battleground in the GWOT. Sounds like Blackwater/Xi or whatever they call themselves is all for shaking down the American public for protection money.

      I am surprised the infestation has not spread worse than it has, but I always bear in mind the image I formed of Mexico just over the border as a child, where the cops were obvious predators on the population. And of course, I have experienced the more sophisticated version in terms of the Boston lockdown during the bombing hoax.

  2. It’s striking, how transparently obvious all the fakery has become, while at the same time it is completely obscured.

    That is, we here, at MHB, marvel as we observe, and shake our heads in wonderment: why can’t everyone see what we see? Because the MSM keep them in Plato’s cave, is why. The common man doesn’t even know to ask the question. And MHB will never be known to the teeming masses, alas.

    Thanks, James, for once again turning over a rock and showing us the creatures underneath. Doing the work the MSM is paid not to do.

  3. These videos are just as fake as the ‘chilling’ SH 911 tapes released after a protracted court battle. All five of them, even though the 911 team received awards for handling hundreds of calls per hour!

    Suppose they count on the average person not bothering to review them as most folks do not like gore and believe the headline.

    Britain had previously declared they would not support the war and lo and behold, once a brit was murdered they changed their mind.

    Do not believe it when the polls declare we are for war, we are not and are well aware of the propaganda machine and all the lying war mongers.

    1. I love when I bring up the videos to my friends they automatically say “Oh my god,those are horrible!” When I ask if they’ve seen them-“Well no,I don’t want to watch something like that-and shame on you for watching….”

  4. Very compact, factual and clear backgrounder on SITE. They are far worse than disreputable, as they help feed the evil carousel of chaos punctuated by wars.

    Patrick partly attributes the lack of awareness and accountability to, “…the MSM keep them in Plato’s cave…” Yes, the media does seem to be central to all of the worst aspects of life on Earth. I don’t hear too many of us in the choir arguing otherwise. So, what can be done about this? It seems it would be fruitless to take the media on within the given rules of the game.

    Is it time yet to put sugar in their tank? I have to speak in euphemisms to avoid being taken as violent or uncivilized. As I’ve said to interested parties many times before, once American TVs broadcast only static and all the TiVos run dry, the revolution will have begun.

  5. I completely agree with James’ analysis. Just like the SPLC and MEMRI, they are the publicity arm of deception. Notice how these manufactured groups have such “marketable” names. “ISIS”, catchy, no?

    My wonderment comes from the fact that people believe these over-the -top productions like kids watching horror movies. These things would be more at home in Bollywood. These guys are beyond human, they are Super Villains.

    Now, if you fail to declare your tips properly the IRS will get you. If you move too much of YOUR money from the bank, the revenuers will get you. These guys buy BILLIONS in weapons from SOMEBODY, but they are untraceable.

    These guys have the ability to become invisible too. They can travel desert roads with complete security. No satellite imagery for them, no sir! Try that in Yemen.

    Yes, this is an “extra-special” evolution in the “war on terror”. It requires “boots on the ground” and LOTS of money. It may even require the removal on unsavory governments and their replacement with Israeli-friendly ones.

    I shouldn’t be such a cynic. After all, Rita’s got it all on video.

  6. “Indeed, a similar search for “SITE Intelligence” and “Rita Katz” yields only 26 entries over a two year period. Of these, 14 appear in the Washington Post, a publication with well-established links to US intelligence. Four New York Times articles feature the combined entities.”

    I do not understand the meaning of combined entities. Does it mean that four New York Times articles mentioned both, SITE Intelligence and Rita Katz?

  7. Regarding the photos shown of the 3 beheaded men, I was taken aback looking at the signs with their names printed so professionally. The 3 signs are identical in size and font. I wonder who printed these signs and why have they bothered making the signs appear so professional when in essence there is nothing classy about this group of terrorists.

  8. Good sleuthing, Prof. Tracy. Amazing how they can sell anything, no matter how ridiculous, to the American public.

  9. Definitely IGNORE all results from this organization. I knew it was all BS when I found the image of Soltoff’s sister to be a totally different person. Her name is Rachael not Lauren. I do not know if she is aware they used her image so I am not putting her last name. She did not attend the memorial.

    I found the EXACT pic of David Haines released by the media. You can still see the gold outline where they shopped out the original background. There were three couples. Two were sisters and the third female person also had similar features. The three men were a challenge as well; that all these six crisis actors were in on it was not ever in question. Which part each individual played presented a challenge. This picture from the actors very own facebook account seals the deal and they are all connected through work @ItWorksGlobal and family relationship. FRAUD proven!! Picture with article here This graphic has the wrong actor pegged for Haines but you can see the three couples involved in the scam at the bottom.

    James Foley also a proven crisis actor.

    Further, it appears Sotloff also an actor in Sandy Hook. You can compare the sound of his voice as Sotloff and as Lusardi here

    1. The best we can do is mow down the zombies trying to escape the quarantine. I suspect that a majority of these troops will be from the national guard.

  10. Gosh, James is right on top of this stuff. Very impressive. When you are through with the Middle East, consider the two false flags in Ukraine. The Ukraine war is much more dangerous than the Middle East, where the US is primarily serving Israel’s interests. Nuclear powers are involved, and these things can easily get out of hand.

    It’s important that the American people understand the US engineered coup, accomplished largely by snipers shooting the protesters. The head of security of the deposed regime stated that he tried to get his men to attack the snipers, but the building was held by the Nazis. They were supported by Washington.

    The other false flag was MH17, which killed about 300 plane passengers. How Washington gets away with it I find astonishing. An analysis of the effect of the media on American and European consciousness has still not been given, as far as I know. It is easy, I know, to pile stuff to do on someone else’s plate. Still, a media analysis hasn’t been done.

  11. The problem is that multinational oil companies are pulling out of Iraq due to security concerns. Se we had to invent this ‘new fangled’ enemy called the Islamic State. Then we will ‘accidentally’ call the invasion “Operation Enduring Crusade” while claiming this isn’t a war on Muslims (this time).

    Seems these oil companies aren’t happy stealing the oil unless we make it easier.

    With regard to the Islamic State, there are two countries that should be cooperating to eliminate them. Namely, Israel, for obvious reasons, and Saudi Arabia, the heart of Islam. It appears the USA is dead set on ‘chasing the ISIS to the gates of hell’ to protect these entities.

    With regard to these video productions. I state that Jihad John was presented to appeal to the western masses. The fakery with regard to the video’s is obvious. What amazes me is that with all of the media clout, they couldn’t come up with a better video.

    What we are presented with is abject amateur video, it follows none of the patterns of prior Islamic executions, and are entirely produced for our consumption.

    And the vast majority of Americans in particular are consummate consumers.

  12. someone needs to kick that woman in the face! her nose isn’t hung right – left actually. what a honker! Saddam must have duck taped her nose sideways until she ratted out her father for being a spy. the nicest thing to do would have been to put her out of her misery-now we all have to suffer.

    I guess it’s hard to determine if she is lying when all one can do is stare at her nose.

  13. Somewhat related to this “threat”, here is an interesting little ditty on Madman Mc Cain and the Crisis Act…, “Al Baghdadi”. Is that anything like a homeless “Mack Daddy”? Just askin’.

    It’s a small world. This is becoming a lot like the old Hollywood. All these actors under contract just waiting for the next production. I imagine the graphics department down at Marketing can make very professional-looking signs (in answer to the question above).

    I think “Worldwide Wrestling” was probably a more believable and subtle production than these recent fear pieces. These guys are gonna give zombies a bad name.

  14. Tammie, here is a link to a piece by Jim Fetzer. He claims that “National Security Letters (NSL’s) were issued within a 25 mile radius.

    It fits! He also claims the school was closed in 2008, and the residents know it, but they have been silent because of the NSL’s.

    It’s an interesting theory. I’ve certainly said that it “appears” that way. The problem has been proof. I posted a link a while back to another researcher who had information on the internet activity for the school. It seemed to confirm what Dr. Fetzer is saying.

    It is an extremely logical explanation for the silence when coupled with the open payments made to those who cooperated. We have had suspicious deaths, disappearances and I have no doubt that threats have been issued.

    I hope that more people keep this operation alive. The more scrutiny in gets the worse it looks. It needs the widest possible audience.

  15. One has to consider the possibility that the war against ISIS is partially concocted to take the American people’s attention away from the far more dangerous war in Ukraine. Washington will pursue the provocation against Russia for many years no doubt to disconnect western Europe from Eurasia by a new Cold War.

    The danger, which is downplayed in the media, is nuclear war, since four nuclear powers are involved. And there are two Washington engineered false flags to cover up. Since economically Ukraine is a basket case and cold winter is coming on with gas heat probablematical, the possibility of increased violence is almost assured. And Washington’s policy generally is to increase the violence.

  16. The great Pepe Escabar, who is currently tooling around Europe, says that currently the Islamic Jihad has replaced Putin as Mr Evil in the European consciousness. Why Europe sucks up to Washington when it is so against its interests militarily, economically and politically is a great puzzle, or at least it puzzles me. Surely the European media could not be as bad as the American media. Could it?

  17. A pity that the commenters, like most Americans, do not appear much interested in Washington’s foreign policy. Most of the false flags manipulate American opinion for foreign policy reasons, notably for beginning wars. Mainstream journalists who discuss foreign affairs, with few exceptions, do not examine the false flags that are used to initiate them. So domestic opinion is disconnected conceptually and ideologically from foreign policy. And, as Hixson has argued cogently in THE MYTH OF AMERICAN DIPLOMACY, there is a close connection.

    Violence, racism, predatory extortion, and full spectrum domination are not alien and immoral to the American people. Violence in particular is conceived to be Tough, manly, realistic, and effective. The American people tend to support the initiation of war easily, and only tire of it when it lasts too long and the US isn’t winning.

    This is a dangerous moral weakness, possibly a fatal one. And we can not overcome it without paying attention to the historical tendency we have for initiating and support homicidal violence.

  18. Thank you, James Tracy! Somebody has finally asked the question that has needed asked since SITE released the first Osama bin Laden videos post-9/11. The group may be legit, but, given their background credentials, there seems to be a major conflict of interest problem here. It deserves at least to be mentioned in every single mainstream media report that is released, but of course that never happens. Here is a nice article from 2007, which mentions another researcher, one Laura Mansfield, who has also had some luck digging up terror vids from the comfort of her bedroom. Keep up the great work!

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