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US Army Sees Twitter As Possible Terrorist "Operation Tool" 320

Mike writes "A draft US Army intelligence report has identified the popular micro-blogging service Twitter as a potential terrorist tool. A chapter titled 'Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter' notes that Twitter members reported the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets and activists at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements. 'Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives,' the report said. The report goes on to say, 'Terrorists could theoretically use Twitter social networking in the US as an operation tool.' Just wait until the Army finds out about chat rooms and email!"
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US Army Sees Twitter As Possible Terrorist "Operation Tool"

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  • by iamwhoiamtoday ( 1177507 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:22PM (#25518981)
    Go sit in the corner. If it's taken them THIS long to realize that the internet is nothing but a gigantic communications tool... geez....
    • by foobsr ( 693224 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:25PM (#25519019) Homepage Journal
      A hypothesis would be that they are trying to implement hooks to restrict 'free speech', the latter being a potential 'operation tool' for 'terrorists'.

      • by electrictroy ( 912290 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:33PM (#25519123)

        I imagine they are discussing those so-called "domestic terrorists" who believe such wacky ideas like "Don't Tread on Me", or that the Constitution is the Supreme Law, or that Human Rights are inalienable, or that juries have the power to nullify prosecution brought against innocent persons. ( [] [] )

        • by marco.antonio.costa ( 937534 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:51PM (#25519289)
          • by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:09PM (#25519413) Homepage
            I see what you're saying, but I think I can understand the Army's motivation in talking of such things and it's their whole fixation on finding the "unknowns", they don't want a "game changer" of a technology or strategy unleashed upon them totally unawares. I believe Rumsfeld was lampooned for his attempt to explain it in a press conference. Regardless it is talked about in higher circles than late night tv watchers and makes sense, to immediately assume this as a threat to democracy is a little ridiculous.
            • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:47PM (#25519747)
              What are you doing?

              Husayn is trying to figure out these stupid remote triggering devices. Anything to avoid spending Ramadan with his wife's sisters!

              Ali is watching Coalition troop movements. Bo-ring!

              Kamel wishes the carpet bombing would stop soon. The cave is cold. And the other martyrs smell bad.

              Akbar is thinking about the 72 virgins awaiting him in Paradise. They better not be fat like his sister Fatima, or he is going to feel very mislead by his imam.

              Commander Tariq says his Mujahedin should stop using the Zionist tool Twitter and get back to fighting the infidels, or he will beat them like the cowardly she-goats they are.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              Perhaps the U.S. Army could cross the Rubicon..... er, I mean the Potomac in December and install George Bush as a permanent president (Princeps). After all, we need to fight terrorism and Obama wants to end the fight, therefore we (the Army) cannot allow Obama to take over.

              And thus the Republic falls, replaced with an Imperator government. All in the name of "protecting the U.S. from terrorists, foreign and domestic".

          • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:51PM (#25519775) Journal

            As you say, Marx was an idiot - but if you look at him and most "Marxists" of various sorts who follow him, they were really verbose idiots. Sure, Engels got him to fit the Communist Manifesto in a short, punchy document with memorable slogans, but Das Kapital or the Unabomber's 35000-word manifesto were more typical. And most of the Islamic extremists are really verbose as well. Twitter and text messages are simply the wrong medium for ideological extremists to use.

            Twitter may be fine for tactical operational messages or for non-ideologicals like gangs - "Lets go kill the Haitians!" fits just fine. Marxists can at least use Twitter to say "Let's go get beer"; even that doesn't work for the Islamics.

            Maybe the white-power hate groups could fit their ideology into short messages, if they can type that well, but they're the FBI's problem, not the Army's. And even they'd mostly use it for things like "Goin to Wa||mrt - white sheets are on sale".

            • by msuarezalvarez ( 667058 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @04:33PM (#25520123)

              Have you even tried to read Marx's Capital? The simple fact that you put it in the same sentence as the Unabomber manifesto shows clearly that you have not...

              That you are judging the guy's analysis of the role of capital in the economy based on the actions of people who used his name, quite a few decades after he was dead, and in ways that would have make him puke, is pretty minor in comparison to your being writing about a work you have no knowledge of.

            • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @04:41PM (#25520195) Homepage

              the power of twitter, that is also the power of email, SMS broadcasts, and at least 900,000,000 different ways of communicating via the internet is that agents can all report information in short bursts.

              A1: blues are heading west.
              A2: greens are heading east. left 3 guards.
              A3: target only has 6 guards. places everyone.
              A1: in position.
              A2: in position.
              A3: It is 3:21 right now. Go at 4:10.

              Now, this would be outright RETARTED to do this via twitter. Get some used Ham radio handhelds on ebay and use the local repeater for your agents during the event. If you use one of the oddball repeaters like the 1.2ghz or the 220 repeaters no hams would even know anything was going on until it was too late. Most of those repeaters dont even have hams listening 98% of the time and if you comms are very short you're golden. If you're well funded drop a repeater on a hill (that you also bought off ebay) and set up your own system.

              It will take at least days hours before anyone reports all the "dirka dirka jihad" talk on some obscure frequency. The feds will probably never detect it, and all the gear is readily available.

              Why even waste time with a toy like twitter?

              • by DittoBox ( 978894 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @05:35PM (#25520697) Homepage

                Two options.

                A) The idiots in the Army are incompetent and really haven't thought this through as well as you have. They're just blowing enough sunshine up their superior's rear ends to get another promotion. This happens with quite a bit of frequency no matter where you're employed.

                B) The guys in the Army are much smarter than we give them credit for and they're just using this to scare people into further believing in some vague terrorist threat and we need to further monitor all communication platforms for said threat. Then they can find the "real" terrorists like Hippys, Liberals, Ron Paul drones and other "Anti-American" types. Not that twitter is a decent communications platform for anything other than 144 character introspective, self-indulgent bullshit.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Gordonjcp ( 186804 )

                If you use one of the oddball repeaters like the 1.2ghz or the 220 repeaters no hams would even know anything was going on until it was too late. Most of those repeaters dont even have hams listening 98% of the time and if you comms are very short you're golden.

                The problem is that with the amount of repeater abuse these days, most radio amateurs *are* monitoring the repeaters they are responsible for constantly. I don't even have particularly clever kit, but I can DF someone abusing the repeater within ab

          • by Pros_n_Cons ( 535669 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @06:57PM (#25521377)


            Silence..... I Kill You! []

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by David Gerard ( 12369 )
          The page at that link smokes crack at the point where it asserts that amendments 11 on were the work of humans, but amendments 1-10 are actually the work of God.
      • by Brian_Ellenberger ( 308720 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:24PM (#25519527)

        A hypothesis would be that they are trying to implement hooks to restrict 'free speech', the latter being a potential 'operation tool' for 'terrorists'.

        Did anyone bring up anything about banning anything? Didn't think so. It is hyperbole to say the US military is about to ban free speech because they are studying twitter as a tool that can be used in certain scenarios by a terrorist. Part of their job is to study *every* potential tool that our enemies use. If they didn't they would be blamed as ignorant or out-of-touch.

        The summary is short, but the issue isn't that they are stupid and don't realize that the internet is one big communications tool. They INVENTED the darn thing. It's the specifics of how it is used. Twitter is obviously a different tool than chat rooms, just like Facebook is different from the days of people having their own personal home pages.

        • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @05:58PM (#25520875)

          I held a military intelligence slot for a year or so, and one thing that was incredibly basic, is MI is about capabilities, not intentions. The whole reason Military Intelligence is not really an oxymoron is summed up in this rule. It's the job of Intelligence to be a staff, not command position, and to report capabilities to commanders. At highest levels, it's Intelligence's job to report capabilities to civilian oversight. Commanders or civil governments are the people who decide if somebody is likely to use a particular capability in a particular way. And all the biggest decisions are reserved to the civilian government.
                A good military intelligence report to congress might list all the countries with H-bombs, how many they have, what Megatonnages they go to, how reliable their trigger mechanisms are thought to be, and so on. It won't say anything about whether Great Britain is less likely to use them against the US than, say, Pakistan. It's up to the US Congress to decide whether there is a real risk from some countries or not. That way, the military carefully avoids telling the government when to go to war, and it stays the civilian government's decision.
                If some guy in MI does his or her job right, he or she notices that twitter works at faster speeds in some real world case or other than some of the other communications methods. He or she reports that up the chain because it's a capability. The command chain and civilians are the people who need to decide if there's anybody intending to misuse this technology, and what should be done about it. Congress might go "ZOMG, Osama haz Twitterz! W3R3 D00MED!" and screw everyone's rights. But the MI guy did his or her job correctly.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            The thing is that if you're internet-literate, reporting about Twitter is like reporting about the different sizes of paper your adversary might use to send a letter.

            It's all the internet. What you use on the internet is much less significant. E-mail, IM, Twitter, it's all essentially the same. Twitter is absolutely nothing special. It could be torn down and replaced with something else tomorrow. A report which talks about "Twitter" would then be completely invalidated. But a report which simply talks about

    • Just wait for the plan to send soldiers in to the net.

    • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:27PM (#25519051) Homepage
      They've been mesmerized by the porn since 1993. "Wait, you mean you can communicate over the internet too? Wow, cool!"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:42PM (#25519227)
      Also terrorist operation tools:

      The Internets. Bombs. Fertilizer. Gasoline. Guns. Fear.

    • by qw0ntum ( 831414 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:47PM (#25519259) Journal
      I don't think anyone is stupid enough to have missed that the internet is a gigantic communication tool (for more than just porn). Obviously there are people in the military bureaucracy who have never heard of Twitter, and this report is going to be their introduction. What is its purpose? To inform decision makers that it is possible to create or use tools like Twitter to broadcast information point-to-multipoint, and how this capability can be abused by terrorist groups. I am sure that there are people in the Pentagon, due to their age or lack of experience with modern web apps, who have never considered this possibility and it's probably good they are made aware.

      Does this mean that someone is going to misinterpret this report to mean Twitter is a terrorist organization? I'm sure (would it really be so bad if it got taken down? :P ), but those people are already beyond help. Does this mean that no one in the Pentagon had ever heard of Twitter? No. Does it mean that fighting Twitter is about to become a priority for the Army? Emphatically, no. What it means is that the Army intelligence service was trying to inform the chain of command about modern applications on the internet and their potential to be used as a weapon. And guess what? That's their job. So I, for one, am glad they are doing it. With full knowledge, I might add, of the past abuses of civil rights that the US intelligence community has committed.

      When I worked as a software designer for Big Company, I remember they gave me a kind of cheesy pamphlet describing a day in the life of the target customer for our product, interspersed with market information. I bet to a marketer, everything in there was a "no shit Sherlock" fact, but to me as a developer it was new and valuable information. Same with this, to /.'ers this is a "no shit" idea, but to people whose lives are primarily spent off the internet it would be valuable.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bjourne ( 1034822 )
        If you need to be told by a report that internet makes instant communication possible, then I don't think you should be in change of something important. Sentiments like that is exactly what gives you presidents who cant locate the countries they want to invade on a map.
    • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:55PM (#25519311)

      the internet is nothing but a gigantic communications tool

      That's right! And, what's worse, they have infiltrated the Slashdot moderation system! They are using Slashdot moderators to transmit their messages. Watch this:

      If this post is moderated (-1, Offtopic) it means "skyjack an aircraft"

      If this post is moderated (-1, Redundant) it means "bomb the Pentagon"

      If this post is moderated (-1, Overrated) it means "spread anthrax over a large US city"

      If this post is moderated (-1, Troll) it means "put child pornography in the internet"

      If this post is moderated (-1, Flamebait) it means "send a suicide bomber to the subway"

      If this post is moderated (+1, Insightful) it means "disband, they found us out"

      If this post is moderated (+1, Interesting) it means "go to the FBI and tell everything about us"

      If this post is moderated (+1, Informative) it means "sorry, we are wrong"

      If this post is moderated (+1, Funny) it means "get a life, don't be a terrorist"

      If this post is moderated (+1, Underrated) it means "terrorist? Oops, sorry, I wanted to be a theorist"

    • by carlzum ( 832868 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:58PM (#25519353)
      Wait until they find out that there's an ultra-portable, wireless tool that allows terrorists to interact by voice and instantly exchange notes, photos, and videos. They can even customize the devices with anti-US skins and Bin Laden ring tones.
    • by b4upoo ( 166390 )

      I think that our defense agencies including the Army are very aware and very, very involved in study of all internet traffic at a sophisticated and penetrating level.
                        Since the public is never permitted to actually know about these secret practices we can have no clue as to the cost and whether these efforts have ever or will ever yield fruit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Metroid72 ( 654017 )

      Oh oh.. you know what's next...

      The US Army says Twitter can be used as a terrorist tool.
      Obama has made several campaign announcements via Twitter.

      Wait for the champions of truth Fox News to put 2+2 together and denounce Obama for what he is.

  • Paper and pencil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BSAtHome ( 455370 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:23PM (#25518997)

    Sorry, but I get tired of these messages. Terrorists could potentially use paper and pencils to communicate too. Lets outlaw that too. The hammer and the screwdriver are terrible weapons. Let us outlaw anything that has a potential. And please start with my hands because they are the most lethal of all.

    Common sense; it is so rare, it is a god damn superpower.

    • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:30PM (#25519081) Journal

      Hey, my descendents could be terrorists. Does that mean my balls can be classed as terrorist weapons? Maybe Bush, Blair and Cheney should get down there and have a look at them just in case.

      I mean what the fucking Hell is it with people who consider Twitter a potential terrorist tool? And they're complaining that it's being used for disseminating extremist ideologies? Oh no - Bad Thoughts! We must eliminate Bad Thoughts.
    • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

      Sorry, but I get tired of these messages. Terrorists could potentially use paper and pencils to communicate too.

      Now that's just crazy talk. I've never seen anybody use those outside of historical reconstitutions.

    • by Fumus ( 1258966 )
      And let's poke out every child's eye when they are born. 3D vision is a deadly asset.
    • All terrorists were once little kids. Therefore, we should ban little kids. There, Problem solves once and for all.
    • by Nyeerrmm ( 940927 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @05:20PM (#25520557)

      I think you're missing the point. No where in the article does it mention trying to ban Twitter (which would be completely ridiculous). What the intelligence report does is exactly what the Army Intelligence group is supposed to do, identify potential tactics that adversaries may use, and inform the decision-makers of those things. While an officer may understand and use email, the use of twitter, which focuses not on individual communication but mass distribution, is a different enough model that older colonels and generals may not have imagined it on their own. Informed decisions are always better ones.

      I think this is really the most frustrating thing about the way the past 7 or 8 years have gone is that the obvious abuses make people have a knee-jerk reaction that even reasonable actions are wrong.

  • Terror...? (Score:5, Funny)

    by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:23PM (#25518999) Journal

    Maybe if you define terror as "really, really irritating."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlnation ( 858981 )
      Well... this is the first time I'd be willing to go along with the Security Theater.

      I'm sure this is just yet another cheap viral marketing scam by Twitter. Get restricted = seem cool, fashionable and necessary. I don't approve of calling everything (or indeed, pretty much anything) a terrorist threat, but in this case if the net result is no more Twitter... then Military, please go right ahead.

      I'm sure Twitter could actually be useful if it wasn't run and marketed by a total bunch of jerks, desperate
  • by HycoWhit ( 833923 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:24PM (#25519001)
    When computers are outlawed, only outlaws will have computers!! All this new fangled technology that old, white men don't understand needs to be banned!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hazem ( 472289 )

      When computers are outlawed, only outlaws will have computers!!

      That reminds me that the US has (or had) tight restrictions on what kinds of computer technology could be exported to "countries we don't like". They were regulated under "Arms Control" because they could be used to do nuclear weapons simulations and difficult-to-crack cryptography. The limits were at one point low enough that some game consoles qualified for the restrictions.

      Seems to me that then makes computers something that can be protecte

  • SMS? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FurtiveGlancer ( 1274746 ) <> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:24PM (#25519011) Journal
    I'm sure the bad guys haven't figured out how to send an SMS to several numbers on disposable phones. ~
  • by wilhelm ( 5091 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:24PM (#25519013) Homepage

    Just wait until the government figures out that terrorists use the US Mail for their terrorist activities. Whatever will we do then? Won't somebody please think of the children?

    If there is a method of communication, the probability of these ubiquitous "terrorists" using it for communication are pretty close to 1. File this story under "duh".


    • by shawb ( 16347 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:38PM (#25519175)
      And the US Mail can be used to spread Anthrax! That's biological terrorism or copyright violation either way!>

      But seriously, it would surprise me if twitter was NOT already being monitored en masse by the NSA. Not only is there the potential for catching actual terrorist communication, but merely analyzing the patterns in which tweets are sent could be a quick alert that some sort of sudden disaster is occuring... whether natural disaster like an earthquake, an accidental explosion in an industrial location, or a terrorist activity. It may be possibly to analyze the data to pinpoint the location of an event by where the tweets are sent from without having to even read the contents. Sure, there would be potential for abuse of such monitoring, but there would be potential for early warning which just may allow for cleanup and relief efforts to arrive that much quicker and better informed. It wouldn't be about the tool, it would be about who has access to it.
  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:26PM (#25519031)

    Why doesn't the military simply save itself a lot of time and wasted effort and the rest of the people a ton of tax money and just simply report that any communications system from a wink or a semaphore to encrypted satellite communications could be used by bad guys, and that anything from a rock to a rocket could be a potential weapon?



  • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:28PM (#25519057)

    - Buying explosives. Thanks tom!
    - Shaping explosvies.
    - Milling bomb casing.
    - Filling bomb casing.
    - Rigging fuse. Hehe I made the + terminal blue instead of RED! That'll get'em!
    - Putting bomb in suitcase. This new Ralph Lauren suitcase design is DYNOMITE! :D
    - Getting in car. We sould really put some Al-Qaeda funds into something better than an 92 GeoMetro. This thing sucks.
    - Leaving on Airplane. Phone off! ByeBye for now! Don't want to crash plane.
    - Landed! The big apple awaits!
    - Picked up food at McDonalds on third street. Mmmmmm McFlurry goodness.
    - Bomb planted on 5th and James. They should make larger trashcans. Those things are TINY!1!
    - Bored. Waiting at Starbucks. Prices are insane!

  • Why not be honest (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:28PM (#25519065)
    The US Army views things through a certain lens where the major thing they consider about anything is "How will terrorists use it?" The truth is, there are nefarious ways to use almost everything, even a pencil. You can't prevent bad things from happening just by thinking up how they may happen. If someone wants to badly enough, they can achieve grand things. That goes for good and bad. It takes the apathy of many people, or even someone who may charm angsty groupies, or whatever. Why spend time being afraid and worrying about what may happen? We can't possibly take preventative measures against absolutely every manner of causing harm or allowing ingress. This isn't news, it's just the army doing their... "job" I guess...
    • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:41PM (#25519199)

      It is that - just the Army doing their job. Evaluation of security implications means analysis of capabilities. Is twitter capable of being used for nefarious purposes? Of course.

      If you bother to read TFA you'll see that the same analysis is being applied to several other ubiquitous technologies including GPS.

      This sort of thing is very routine; nothing to see here, move along.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zappepcs ( 820751 )

      More to the point, the US intelligence community doesn't seem to have a very good track record when it comes to using information. The US used bad information to validate invading Iraq, after not listening to good information about terrorists who would like to use airplanes as missiles to attack the WTC.

      Basically, after those and other brilliant blunders regarding information, I do not believe that the US government has any clue where it's collective ass is, never mind how to scratch it when it comes to ter

  • by EWAdams ( 953502 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:28PM (#25519067) Homepage

    In chemistry, you can get funding for anything as long as you can relate it to cancer, no matter how tenuously.

    "Terrorism" is the "cancer" of security folks -- magically gets them support and funding. Used to be Communism, but that is SO 20th century.

    If we ever reach a state where we don't have anything to be afraid of, the security-freaks will have to invent something in order to keep their jobs. Oh, wait...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:46PM (#25519249)

      Funding, of course, but also the "justification" for more power over the people:

      "Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives", the report said

      Extremist ideoligies such as freedom of speech, freedom to move about unrestricted, freedom from arbitrary search and seizure, and of course the most extremist of all ideologies: limits on government power and government revenue. These will all have to be monitored to keep the radicals from compromising the power pyramid, without which society would collapse.

  • Every tool of communication can be used to plot against the government.

    It used to be that all they had to do was tap your land-line phones and read your mail. Now they have to tap your phones, fax, text messages, in-game chats, web pages, e-mail, viral videos, and the secret messages contained in your spam.

    The more options of communication you have, the more chances you have to be plotting against them.

    Obviously you must be stopped while they still can.

    They bring new meaning to the term "Communications Too

  • Homeland securit bans use of all telephones. Cites device could be used for communication.
  • Our approach to finding terrorist "operational tools" seems to be almost identical to our approach to finding patentable "methods".
    Everybody remember the ghastly rash of patents of the form "*yada, yada, something obvious and already common* On the Internet!"? It appears that we are going through the same thing here. Today it is Terrorism, on Twitter!, a while back it was Terrorism, on Wow!, even Terrorism, hidden in kiddie porn!(the ultimate in integrated police state rationalizations. Proposed in Britain
  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:34PM (#25519133) Homepage

    'Nuff said.

  • The military discovers that human speech may be used to transfer terrorist information and requests that all non authorized speech be banned.

    They wont be happy until every second of everyones day is tracked, and they have a way to scan your brain daily for 'subversive thoughts'.

  • Hey US Army (Score:4, Insightful)

    by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:35PM (#25519145) Journal
    Terrorists can use TXT messages too... and guess what... TXT messages are more secure than Twitter.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phroggy ( 441 )

      Terrorists can use TXT messages too... and guess what... TXT messages are more secure than Twitter.

      Not necessarily. It's easy to identify the recipient of an SMS text message - it's whatever phone number the message was sent to, obviously. Of course, associating the phone number to a person may not be possible (e.g. if they paid cash for a pre-paid phone), but at least you know their phone number, which you can correlate with call records (under subpoena, of course).

      On the other hand, since Twitter is a broadcast-style service that anyone can subscribe to, there could be hundreds of people subscribed t

  • by interiot ( 50685 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:37PM (#25519161) Homepage

    "Terrorists may or may not be using voice-changing software but it should be of open source interest that online terrorist and/or terrorist enthusiasts are discussing it."

    So there are terrorist fanbois online now too? By definition, a terrorist is someone engaged in asymmetric warfare, i.e. one of their main advantages is stealth/secrecy, so it's hard to see how someone would be an enthusiastic promoter of it in public. "Terrorist enthusiast" is such an odd turn of phrase that almost all hits [] are for this article itself.

  • by GBC ( 981160 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:39PM (#25519179)
    I know he supposedly has a lot of sockpuppets, but calling Twitter a possible terrorist operation tool is a bit much, isn't it?
  • A joint committee between DARPA, Homeland Security, the CIA, NSA, FBI and BATF to day reported scientific findings supporting prior suspicions that neurons are a potential terrorist tool. The blue-ribbon committee recommends HLS licensing the expression of genes for BDNF as a precaution.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:45PM (#25519237)

    If this story is alleging that twitter is useful for something, then I call bullshit on the whole thing.

  • Don't forget (Score:3, Insightful)

    by consonant ( 896763 ) <> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:47PM (#25519253) Homepage
    /. is a terrorist haven! All you have to do is browse at -1 on all Apple/Google/Nintendo stories!
  • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:58PM (#25519347) Homepage

    I can't place the name or even the time period, but there's a quote floating around in my head about the dangers of seeking "perfect" safety. The analogy goes something like this: you could build a perfectly safe transportation system that carried zero risk, but by the time you were done building it, you couldn't afford the fuel to go where you wanted.

    The exploitation of paranoia in our society has led us to spending over 5 trillion dollars on military and wartime budgets since 9/11. Are we any safer? The answer is, no; even the most hard line hawk must admit that there is no way to protect America from all future terrorist attacks. Even if it's preventing terrorist attacks now, it's only delaying them. Instead of a gang of Saudis, next time it will be a gang of Iraqis, pissed off for the same reason: infidel influence in their home country. So, we can continue meddling in Arab affairs -- you can see how well that has gone -- or we can remove our resources from the middle east, spend them on complete energy independence, and continue our far more effective foreign intelligence services. And then we could do something amazing: actually listen to what they are saying.

    The best litmus test for me is to take press releases and news items from my own government, and imagine it was instead a Soviet-era communique from the state news agency. If it even passes the laugh test, I give it some thought, but most of the time, the thought experiment reveals the propaganda for what it is: completely transparent bullshit.

  • OMG, Onoez, Sunday [] -- A report by the US Army 304th Military Intelligence Battalion identifies Internet technologies such as Twitter as potential TERRORIST tools.

    Twitter users reported the July Los Angeles earthquake faster than news outlets, and TERRORISTS protesting at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis used it to provide information on police movements.

    Other technologies were also examined for their TERRORIST uses. "Email could be used for TERRORIST messages, the anonymous troll comme

  • by tezza ( 539307 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:04PM (#25519385)
    Surely this list is an enumeration of ALL communication possibilities? Twitter has communication possibility, therefore deserves to be on the list amongst:

    * Smoke signals
    * Pigeon Carriers
    * Coded Letters
    * Invisible Ink Letters
    * Text Messages
    * Mobile Phone Calls
    * Emails
    * Slashdot posts
    * Twitter
  • This is it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:05PM (#25519393) Journal

    We finally have an excuse to ban Twitter and send him and his sockpuppets to Gitmo!

  • by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:11PM (#25519427) Homepage
    Here's a (still incomplete) list of other potential Terrorist Operation Tools:
    • Email
    • Telephones
    • Pagers, especially 2-way
    • Walkie-talkies

    ...and other than communications...

    • Microcontrollers
    • Model rockets / rocket engines
    • Gasoline
    • Model airplanes
    • Kites
    • String
    • Pocket knives
    • Tools of any kind
    • Books
    • Pens
    • Pencils
    • Paper

    You guys had better get cracking; this is a lot of stuff to ban! Them terr'rists are out to git us, and Wal-Mart, Target, Office Depot, Radio Shack, and other seemingly American stores are helping them out!!

  • The bigger picture (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Reading between the lines, its not Twitter as a terrorist operations tool, but rather, Twitter as a method to dispersing information faster than government sanctioned sources.

    This being said, when the hell did the country of liberty and freedom become such a fk-ing police state?

  • by Rie Beam ( 632299 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:15PM (#25519455) Journal

    Honestly. All this is is a single expression of the huge networking of computers we call "The Internet". Even if they found a bizarre way to shut down Twitter, confiscate the servers, etc, there is nothing that cannot prevent a competing service from filling the role. After awhile, it leaves only one option.

    Go home. Internet's closed.

  • ..US intel agencies have prepared another draft document that identifies other potential terrorist tools

    Shovels-they can be used to plant bombs

    Wheelbarrows-transport the bombs

    sneakers-terrorists could be using sneakers on their feet to make it easy to walk around on the ground

    clothing-terrorists could be wearing clothing so they could "blend in" with the civilian population and sneak around

    talking to people-terrorists could infiltrate and meet each other and "talk"-communicate-with other terrorists


  • Hopefully military intelligence will come to realize how powerful a tool Twitter can be.

    Having, at one time, subscribed to various peoples' Twitter posts... forcing a Gitmo detainee to read Twitter feeds for a few hours will certainly force them into a more compliant state. They'll tell us anything they know just to get away from it.

  • by moxley ( 895517 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:27PM (#25519551)

    Seems to me (these days) that the US Army is a potential terrorist tool....

  • Oh come on! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Godji ( 957148 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:36PM (#25519621) Homepage
    We all know the guy's been annoying everyone on Slashdot, but a "terrorist operation tool"? That's waay overreacting. He just hates Microsoft, that all.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:38PM (#25519645) Homepage

    But if anyone was looking for another reason why the military shouldn't be involved in law enforcement and domestic intelligence gathering, this would be a good one to add to the list.

    The military shouldn't be a precision tool of foreign policy or engaged in law enforcement or peace keeping. Their job is to break things and kill people. Intelligence gathering by the military should be limited to supporting that core mission. Anything else is up to the CIA and NSA. That's why we have them.

  • by Wardish ( 699865 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @05:21PM (#25520579) Journal

    For petes sake. Any communications media can be a "terrorist tool".

    Perhaps they should shoot all pigeons cause they can carry messages.

    Hmmm what about those evil grandmothers that send cookies, they could be hiding terrorist messages...

    and make sure to kill all goats in case someone ties a message to their balls. .....


  • by borgheron ( 172546 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @05:48PM (#25520801) Homepage Journal

    Yeah and any other form of communication.

    Chill out.


  • W. T. F. Seriously. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slcdb ( 317433 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @10:03PM (#25522653) Homepage

    I know this is slashdot and all, but seriously... wtf is the matter with all these moronic posters here talking about "paranoia" and how stupid the army is that they don't "get" the Internet.

    First of fscking all, the army knows what the Internet is good for, considering they're basically the ones who had the thing built for the very purposes we all use it for today (well, maybe not porn and shopping). Of course they are aware of its utility as a communications tool!

    Second, the only paranoia here is emanating from you poor bastards who are worried that Twitter is gonna get banned. The army isn't paranoid that Twitter might be used by terrorists. They're pointing out the fact that its real-time broadcast ability makes it a really useful information dissemination tool. Hence the examples about how quickly it was used to inform about the earthquake, and its effectiveness at broadcasting police movements.

    All this report is saying is that Twitter may become some terrorists' communications medium of choice. No talk of banning it. Nothing said about all Twitter users being terrorists or anarchists. This was just an intelligence report pointing out that maybe Twitter is something they should expect the enemy to be using for conducting operations. That's all. Not surprising. Not unreasonable. Not paranoid.

  • by wannasleep ( 668379 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @10:45PM (#25522893)
    In related news pencil and paper have been found having potential for terrorist use
  • Army newfags (Score:3, Informative)

    by DarkProphet ( 114727 ) <chadwick_nofx@ h o t m a> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @10:51PM (#25522935)
    Slightly OT, I know, but just wait until these geniuses get a load of 4chan lulz.

    Seriously, what that fuck kind of worthless information is this? Text messaging is a pretty effective as a medium for terrorists for much the same reason. Or ham radio. Or cell phones. All of these can provide quick, (mostly) anonymous communication in realtime. BFD. Saying Twitter could be used as a terrorist tool is like saying the sky is blue, the grass is green, and the sun will blind you if you stare at it too long. Thanks for the news flash, fellas. Somewhere right now, a little old grandma is scared to death of Twitter for no good reason. Hmmm....

    And by the way, I don't know if anyone else feels the same way, but I have no idea what the definition of terrorist is anymore. The term is bandied around to blanket such an array of topics, that I feel it has lost its meaning akin to calling every person you know as "human" as opposed to calling them by their names.

    The obviousness of the article's main point aside, I want these jokers to clearly define what they mean by 'terrorist'. There is a very big difference between 'Anti-American' and 'Anti-American-Government', for example.

    Come to think of it, it kinda makes me wonder who we are fighting in the "War On Terror". Hmmmm...

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter