ISIS Uses Twitter to Publish Hit List of U.S. Military Personnel

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I’m an avid backpacker. While shopping for a new, sturdy backpack to travel across Southeast Asia, I asked my military friend for an old duffel bag or something similar to use. He responded, “No, it’s too dangerous. Wearing military gear through airports, or anywhere abroad can make you a target. Anyone with anti-American ideologies could rob you, heckle you, or kill you. So, no. Besides, we’re not supposed to.”

My friend is referencing the physical presence, but what about on social media? We might avoid posting our political views in fear of them affecting job prospects sure, but have you ever considered your online affiliations affecting your safety–your life?

This may be something the U.S. Government and Military personnel will have to consider in the digital age, especially since terrorist organizations all have social media pages.

A group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division posted the names, photos, and addresses of about 100 U.S. troops online, calling for attacks against them. Those most likely to respond will be lone wolves. A term given to individual terrorists who carry out attacks alone in the name of a greater cause…whatever that may be.

Investigations are underway to understand the validity of the post, the methodology the group used to attain the names, and the credibility of the group itself.

In theory, ISIS or any terrorist group could see a military car decal, a Facebook profile picture, an online entry to a military spouse support group, or even see you open your wallet with a military I.D. After that they could find you, stalk you…and then what?

That’s an extreme. Let’s say no attack is ever carried out. At the very least, these terrorists are inciting fear in our military families, pressuring them to limit their online presence–the pride they have in their careers and country–and effectively go into hiding. That’s an issue in itself.

One such Twitter account posted, “We won’t stop! We know everything about you, your wives and children. U.S. soldiers! We’re watching you!” The account has since been deleted. Twitter has been pretty adamant about suspending and deleting ISIS content. As a result, the group has sought refuge in Diaspora, a social site that consists of a group of independently owned pods, which makes it difficult for administrators to remove content.

It’s unfortunate we have to be vigilant against what’s exposed on social networks in the name of terrorism. We must continue to report graphic and hateful messages, and protect the honor of those like Steven Sotloff, James Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller–the list goes on.

Jasmine Shelton
Jasmine Shelton is an American University Alumna, Alabamian at heart, and Washington D.C. city girl for now. She loves hiking, second-hand clothes, and flying far away. Contact Jasmine at



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