Yes, the U.S. Military Uses Social Media to Target ISIS. Stop Reminding Them.

on June 15 | in Intelligence Collection, Military, surveillance, Terrorism

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I recently wrote this piece for Slate about the foolishness of reminding our adversaries that the U.S. monitors their social media output. By publicly informing them of their OPSEC problems, we only hurt ourselves.

It turns out loose lips do sink ships. Last week Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisleregaled an audience about how the U.S. military used the social media accounts of ISIS members to pinpoint and destroy an ISIS facility. As he told a breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C., some under his command were combing through social media feeds:

… and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.

Good work, Air Force. Well-done. Now please shut up.

Why? Well, for the same reason why it’s best not to remind robbers about silent bank alarms, tell mobsters about FBI phone taps, or highlight for FIFA officials which countries lack extradition treaties with the United States; you want the bad guys to trip up.
photo:WWII poster for the Thirteenth Naval District, United States Navy, by Edward Grigware. Library of Congress.
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