California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein thinks websites that provide instructions for making homemade bombs should be removed from the Internet.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said “Anarchist Cookbook” and “Inspire,” an English-language magazine produced by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, should be removed from the Internet in response to the Thursday arrest of two women in New York for allegedly trying to build a bomb.
“I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire Magazine,” Feinstein said in a statement Thursday, according to The Hill.
Asia Siddiqui and Noelle Velentzas were arrested shortly after they showed an undercover informant materials they intended to use to build a bomb. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the two were inspired by the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the emergence of ISIS in the Middle East.
“These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet,” Feinstein said.
The two repeatedly expressed support for violent jihad and used the Anarchist Cookbook, Inspire and other sources to research how to build numerous types of explosives, including fertilizer bombs like the one used in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and pressure cooker bombs like those deployed by the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. Siddiqui also wrote a poem supporting Islamic martyrdom for Inspire around 2009.
This isn’t the first time Feinstein has been outspoken about censoring such publications. After the Oklahoma City bombing, Feinstein proposed a bill making it illegal to distribute such material, which included punishable fines of $250,000 and 20 years in prison.
“[T]here is a difference between free speech and teaching someone to kill,” Feinstein said at the time, according to Policy.Mic.
Though the bill became law in 1997, the publication of such material is still protected under the Bill of Rights.
Since the publication of “The Anarchist Cookbook” in 1971, a number of experts have pointed out the majority of the book’s bomb making “recipes” don’t actually produce working bombs.
Any push to remove such content online would likely face severe pushback from free speech and civil liberties advocates. The U.S. Supreme Court has notoriously ruled in favor of free speech in such arguments.