Rob here with Patriot Privacy and the Self-Reliance Institute.
According to news reports that broke yesterday, Islamic State militants (also known as ISIS and ISIL) may be planning attacks against current and former U.S.-based members of the United States military.
For that reason, law enforcement authorities are advising “members of the U.S. military to erase from their online social media accounts anything that would draw attention from “violent extremists,” or reveal service members’ identity.”
Let me state at the outset, that it is quite possible that this “warning” is nothing more than the U.S. government wanting to breed fear amongst Americans as a means of control. A scared society tends to be a compliant society.
Having made that point, there are two undeniable realities.
1) The terrorists who call themselves the “Islamic State” have conducted extremely brutal and violent acts in territories (mostly Syria and Iraq) where they have operational control and they do actively attempt to recruit individuals in other countries.
2) Many citizens, including current and former members of the military, place far too much information on their social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and that information makes them vulnerable to a wide-range of criminal or terrorist activity.
Because of those two realities – realities that apply to all of us – it is important to review your social media accounts, personal and corporate websites, and any other locations where you reveal even the smallest amount of personal and private information to be sure you are not making yourself a potential target for anything from identity theft, to common scams, to violent crime.
With that preamble, let’s look at the current warning as reported by ABC News and Reuters in “U.S. Military Warned of Possible Islamic State Attacks at Home: Report.”
“U.S. officials have warned military personnel that Islamic State forces may be planning attacks against them in the United States, ABC News reported on Monday.
“A joint intelligence bulletin sent to law enforcement agencies by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security urged members of the U.S. military to erase from their online social media accounts anything that would draw attention from “violent extremists,” or reveal service members’ identity, the news network said.
“ABC said the government indicated late Sunday it had obtained intelligence that Islamic State militants, who have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria with the intention of setting up a fundamentalist caliphate, were targeting the United States within its borders.
“’The FBI recently received reporting indicating individuals overseas are spotting and assessing like-minded individuals who are willing and capable of conducting attacks against current and former U.S.-based members of the United States military,’ the bulletin said, according to a Reuters source. …
“The Pentagon had most recently advised personnel to check their social media after two Canadian soldiers were killed in their country in October in separate attacks that police said were carried out by converts to Islam, he said.”
So there you have it.
No matter what you think the motivation behind the warning may be, I believe it’s always a sound security practice to review social media accounts on a regular basis to be certain that they don’t reveal too much information about you or your family.
Information that an entire range of criminals could take advantage of and cause you physical or financial harm.
In fact, it’s far more likely that a common identity thief, burglar or scam artist will use your social media to victimize you than an Islamic radical.
So please clean up your social media accounts, websites, and other locations where you may be inadvertently revealing personal and proprietary information that could be used to harm you or your family.
And feel free to write me at [email protected] and let me know what you make of this warning from the U.S. government. Is it legitimate? Or is it designed to create unnecessary fear?
Be safe, secure and free!
Rob Douglas – Former Washington DC Private Detective
PS – This weekend, I’ll reveal to members of the Self-Reliance Institute how back in the late 1990’s I helped the U.S. Military understand how publicly available information could harm them during a time of “force protection.”
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Thank you for your time. Be safe, secure and free!
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