Here you can see some gorgeous concept art of a post-apocalyptic Washington, DC, recently released by the company making much-anticipated videogame Fallout 3. The art was so cool that it went viral in a way its creators never intended: It started showing up on Al Qaeda message boards as what you might call aspirational imagery. SITE Intelligence Group, a private company working with the US government, found the image on a password-protected board for terrorist wannabes.
SITE Intelligence, an organization that could easily have been ripped from the pages of William Gibson's Spook Country, makes cash by monitoring terrorist websites, writing up reports of what they find, and selling them (mostly) to the U.S. government. According to GameSpot, who has been reporting on the still-unfolding story:
[Reps from SITE said,] "Extremists posted the [Fallout 3] image to a password-protected forum affiliated with al-Qaeda. ... This information was part of a report describing the general atmosphere in this forum with regard to extremists' discussions on weapons of mass destruction, making its context all the more important." . . . SITE made the claim as part of a public refutation of an article appearing in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. That piece claimed that SITE was "embarrassed" and "red-faced" because their report asserted terrorists, not Bethesda, had created the image. The article has since been removed from the The Daily Telegraph's Web site.
So basically Al Qaeda sympathizers know more about fall console game releases than intelligence contractors do. I'm not surprised, but I'm also not sure what that means. Thanks, Raanve!
Al-Qaeda website swipes Fallout 3 pic [Gamespot]