ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group referred to by Barack Obama as the JV team, has long used social media as a recruitment and propaganda tool. Now, the terrorist group is using social media for other nefarious means.
On Tuesday, experts testified before a Senate panel, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing, and revealed that ISIS is using social media to learn the whereabouts of Americans traveling overseas in order to target them for attack once they are away from a secure location.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies testified, “One of the emerging tactics that ISIS, in particular, is trying to use is stalking and killing its foes, especially those who are affiliated with governments. Basically, taking them out of the government sphere, making them individuals who can be tracked.”
By saying affiliated with governments, Gartestein-Ross isn’t just referring to elected officials. ISIS has frequently encouraged its followers to target police, military personnel, and their families even going so far as to publish the person information, including addresses, of some military personnel.
This information, according to officials, was not received via hacking. Rather it was required doing simple social media research.
“What some of the followers and adherents of ISIS have tried to do is expose military personnel and their family members with personal data, addresses, etc.,” said Juan Zarate, a former deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush. “So there is a vey real effort underway to at least threaten, if not put at risk, family members and personnel outside the bounds of classic security.”
Social media has complicated that task, they added. “A lot of the information ISIS got when it put out addresses of service members who were on their kill lists was just easily gleaned, not from hacking, but from going to people’s social media accounts and finding out this information about them,” Gartenstein-Ross said.
Social media has become an integral part of life for many Americans. This latest threat by ISIS, however, may make people rethink either what information they put out on social media and also whether they will keep any travel plans overseas, especially given the attacks by ISIS on Paris and Brussels.
Last month, it was reported that at least 90 ISIS terrorists were on the loose in Europe thanks to open borders. That, coupled with the latest threat by ISIS, should lead to people being not only more cognizant of what they post and their safety while traveling, but should also make Americans wake up about the problems with the porosity of our borders.