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.)