by Nathan Hodge
March 3, 2010
In Israel, the military had to
call off an entire operation after a
trooper posted the time and place of an upcoming raid in the West Bank on
According to Associated Press, the
soldier boasted that his unit was planning on “cleaning up” the village.
It’s the kind of scenario that keeps military planners up at night: A
meticulously planned operation goes dangerously awry because some dolt
couldn’t resist telling every one of their Facebook friends or
Twitter peeps about it.
In this case, the Israelis moved swiftly to
“Fellow soldiers reported the leak to
military authorities, who called off the raid fearing that the
information may have reached hostile groups,” the
“The soldier was court-martialed and
sentenced to 10 days in prison.”
Instantaneous electronic communication can be a
dangerous thing, and the U.S. military is also wrestling with new rules to
allow troops more access to social networking sites.
As this incident shows, balancing the openness
Web 2.0 with the need for operational
security is not a problem exclusive to the U.S. armed forces.
It’s doubly interesting to read about this case, because the Israeli
military has worked very hard to use social networking as
an information warfare tool. During
Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009, the the Israeli military
started its own YouTube channel to distribute footage of precision
airstrikes; Israeli diplomats even
hosted a press conference on Twitter.
The BBC notes that the Israeli military had
launched a full-scale campaign warning
against Facebook leaks before the operation.
According to the report, posters show a mock
Facebook request with images of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan
“You think that everyone is your friend?”