The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are warning soldiers that their seemingly innocuous social media accounts could make them susceptible to threats from ISIS.
A joint bulletin issued over the weekend read, in part, “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."
This isn’t the first time soldiers have been warned about the potential dangers of their social media presence. In October, an Army Intelligence bulletin warned that ISIS was encouraging its followers and sympathizers around the world to find the addresses of solider’s families and “show up [at their homes] and slaughter them."
Fox News national security analyst K.T. McFarland said that the tactic has already been used in Iraq, and that Faud Masum, the President of Iraq, was aware of ISIS’s tactics.
“[Masum] said, 'Do you want to know why that 30,000-person Iraqi army fled from ISIS in the city of Mosul in June?' He said: 'Everybody had a cellphone. All the generals took the cellphone to battle and they got text messages from ISIS, saying, 'If you don't lay down your arms and run away right now, we're going to slaughter your families.’” McFarland said. “They put their cellphones down, they took their uniforms off, dropped their weapons and ran away. The soldiers saw the generals were leaving and [said], 'We're out of here too.' That's how it happened.”
McFarland noted that many soldiers overseas rely on social media to remain in contact with their families. "Anybody wants to do harm to our military, they just go online, they look at that. They see he's deployed, his family is home alone, now we have a target,” she said.
Both veterans and current service members are being advised to make their social media profiles private.