US Army monitors blogs by its soldiers
From the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan to at home, soldiers blogging about military life are under the watchful eye of some of their own.
A Virginia-based operation, the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell, monitors official and unofficial blogs and other websites for anything that may compromise security. The team scans for official documents, personal contact information and pictures of weapons or entrances to camps.
In some cases, that information can be detrimental, said Lt. Col. Stephen Warnock, team leader and battalion commander of a Manassas-based Virginia National Guard unit working on the operation.
In one incident, a blogger was describing his duties as a guard, providing pictures of his post and discussing how to exploit its vulnerabilities. Other soldiers posted photos of an Army weapons system that was damaged by enemy attack, and another showed personal information that could have endangered his family.
“We are a nation at war,” Warnock said by email. “The less the enemy knows, the better it is for our soldiers.” In the early years of operations in the Middle East, no official oversight governed websites that sprung up to keep the families of those deployed informed about their daily lives.
The oversight mission, made up of active duty soldiers and contractors, as well as Guard and Reserve members from Maryland, Texas and Washington State, began in 2002 and was expanded in August 2005 to include sites in the public domain, including blogs.
The Army will not disclose the methods or tools being used to find and monitor the sites.