Last week it was reported that Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich) Tweeted himself into the news by giving real time updates as he traveled to Iraq. He was in a delegation led by House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.
His Tweets are chronologically reproduced verbatim from Twitter below:
Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I’ve had bb service in Iraq. 11 th trip here.
9:41 PM Feb 5th from TwitterBerry
Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace.Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here.
11:56 PM Feb 5th from TwitterBerry
Iraq! Issues! lLong term impact on containing Iran.. Need a coherent detainee strategy. Amb Crocker leaving after very successful tenure.
2:32 PM Feb 6th from TwitterBerry
More travel today!lots of interesting and new information Every trip is so unique. Progress/setbacks evolving strategies.
7:29 PM Feb 7th from TwitterBerry
Love twitter critics.Spelling mistakes. Sorry but riding in poor light, bouncing around,speed not accuracy. Lighten up. Its called twitter
7:30 PM Feb 7th from TwitterBerry
Headed home!Situation in Iraq improves significantly.Afghanistan poses challenges!Lots of stuff to talk about when I get home Monday late pm
3:38 PM Feb 8th from TwitterBerry
Just arrived back at Andrews. Press had access to CODEL thru photo op in mtgs with Iraqi President and a gov in Afghanistan.
2:01 PM Feb 9th from TwitterBerry
The Pentagon was not happy about a dignitary transmitting his location, in real time, to the world as he traveled to, from and within a war zone. If this social networking, faux pas, does not become fodder for a Saturday Nigh Live skit, I will be very disappointed. So, just in case they miss it, I have penned a few “what if Tweets that are linked here.
A good report on the media’s reaction to this Twitter-versy was written by Mitch Wagner of InformationWeek.
Rep Hoekstra did respond on his website to the out cry caused bt his personal real time positioning of the Congressional delegation. He turned the whole issue into politics, as usual. He claimed it was the Democrats causing the problem and when they travel to Iraq it is covered by the news, so what’s the difference? The difference is that their exact location was not being blogcasted to the word in real-time. For someone who seems to enjoy Twittering and Web2.0, he really does not get it.
According to Time Magazine, there are now 65 members of Congress Twittering, or at least their staffs are Twittering on their behalf. There are reports of Congressmen sending Tweets from closed, confidential meetings. The ability to broadcast information from your mobile device is a real security concern for governmental agencies. Crackberry addiction is no longer a lonely affliction that just impacts you and your email address book. It impacts the world, and potentially, if you are not careful, world events.
This microblog broadcasting is not just an issue for Twitter. The famous status update on Facebook is really the same as a Tweet. The only difference between the two is that you are more likely to be followed by complete strangers on Twitter, as opposed to Facebook.
I had previously written about the Web2.0 gap between the Democrats and the Republicans. I , therefore should not be too critical of a Republican reaching out and trying to learn how to use Web2.0 social networking. Perhaps hey can do it in a way that does not endanger their lives?
With social networked instant updates causing national security issues, I decided to do a little hand analysis of Facebook by searching for members of various governmental agencies that have secret access to vital information. Here is what I found.
Agency Members on Facebook
CIA >500 Including Felix Leiter
FBI >500 Including Fox Mulder and 2 Dana Scully’s
State Dept. >500 Including 9 Hillary Clintons
Secret Service 145
Home Land Security >500
Drug Enforcement Agency 290
National Security Agency >500
British MI6 >500 with 3 James Bonds’
Israeli Mossad 0
French DGSE 0
It is obvious that not all members who claim to be in the employ of our national security apparatus. However, there are real, some people, in this rather easy search, who do work for the CIA, FBI, NSA or Secret Service. The question is can you figure out who is legitimate and who is just trying to impress a potential date by claiming to be a spy.
I found it disturbingly easy to spot whom are the likely government employees. It was so disturbing that I will not publish my algorithm for managing this little feat. If I can figure this out, I am sure the “bad guys” would have no trouble.
In the case of Congressmen such as Pete Hoekstra the task is even easier. Just become his follower.
I would like to offer the Congressmen the same advice I give my “Tween” daughter, “You don’t have to post every little thought that comes into your head, maybe you should think a little before your post. It can save you from much embarrassment” My 13 year old daughter has learned how to be responsible with her social network; we can only hope that the Members of Congress and other government agencies learn the same lessons.
Note: Special Thanks to Sam Gronner, A Great PR guy and a Real Mench for suggesting this topic to me this week!