The Terrorism Research Center, an Arlington, Va., group, said one siteposted more than 50 photographs of the destruction. Another compiled newsclips into a propaganda video, while an unnamed writer on another claimed"Katrina is the newest soldier of God."
Terrorists are monitoring the much-criticized federal response toHurricane Katrina, as are lawmakers and homeland security experts.
Katrina's aftermath "has grave implications for our ability to deal withterrorism," said Rep. Jane Harman of California, the House IntelligenceCommittee's top Democrat.
"I couldn't help but think how much this resembles the detonation of aweapon of mass destruction in a major American city. ... I have no doubt theterrorists have watched this unfold and they understand its implications,"Harman said.
Experts say Katrina should be carefully and critically examined for itsbroader implications to terrorism.
"We need to move past the finger-pointing and really try to take Katrinaas a case study to distill some lessons learned from it," said terrorismexpert Brian Jenkins, senior adviser to the president of RAND Corp., anational security think tank.
Jenkins said the problems encountered in getting residents out of NewOrleans should prompt questions about how well other cities can beevacuated. Depending on the type of incident, he said, officials may need tomobilize more ways to get people out or to encourage them to stay put and"shelter in place" if that can be done safely.
Jenkins said the disturbing images of dead bodies, flood-ravaged townsand pleading victims also point to the need to address the psychologicaleffects of disasters, including panic. "Terrorism is not simply what theterrorists can do, but the terror created by those events," he said.