Want to Know When the Israeli Army Will Knock Down Your Door? Check Facebook


You know when your boss has a quiet word with you about using Facebook on company time? That's nothing compared to the hell an Israeli soldier is now in: He Facebooked details of an upcoming IDF raid. And forced its cancellation.

"On Wednesday we clean up Qatanah, and on Thursday, god willing we come home" is part of the offending text posted by the un-named soldier on his Facebook status update. He also revealed the particular Israeli Defense Force unit that would be heading into this particular West Bank village to arrest suspected militants, as well as the time it would take place. His Facebook friends reported him to the authorities (after all, what're friends for?) and he's now been relieved of duty. The operation, completely unsurprisingly, had to be called off.

Quite apart from the shocking complacency and arrogance exhibited by the guy in question, the incident once again underlines how easy it is to overshare information using all the instant-access, real-time social tools we're all becoming familiar with. And the timing of this news couldn't be more ironic: Just the other day the Pentagon officially adjusted its policy on warfighters and officials using social networks—essentially permitting everyone to use apps like Facebook or Twitter. But commanders do retain authority to cut off Net access at key moments—such as before an attack is due—to prevent accidental leakage of information.

What's really needed of course, is an awareness campaign much like the iconic ones used in wartime Britain to remind people that careless talk can reveal information to the enemy. The phrases are so far into the public consciousness they're still in occasional use now: "Loose lips sink ships" and "Be like Dad: Keep Mum!" (for the non-Brits among you, that's the same as keeping schtum.)

War Poster

[Via Haaretz.com]

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  • Steven Vance

    Why is that campaign really needed?
    Wasn't that campaign about getting the public on the government and military's side, and to prevent the public from leaking information?

    This is a problem for the Israeli military, not for citizens at large.

  • Tim Johnson

    Geraldo Rivera was sent home from Iraq after broadcasting a drawing of a map he drew in the sand, showing exactly where the American forces where going to attack. Those acts of pure stupidity used to be called treason, and would get hung or shot.

    Tim Johnson, President
    Coactive Brand Lab
    Brand Designer, Marketing and Communications Expert


  • Greg Steggerda

    What's amazing is I'm sure their OpSec training is at least as good as ours, and we had to go through it annually in the US Army. So it's not like he didn't know. Don't think awareness is the problem in the armed forces.

  • Barbara Holtzman

    On the NCIS website, it has a section, "Loose chips sink ships," which is a bit more appropriate.