Twittering Hoekstra Slips on a Bar of Soap But Press/Blogosphere Reaction Worse

At got geoint?, we like to think of ourselves as fairly forward-thinking when it comes to Web 2.0. We set up this blog and our accompanying Twitter handle, Facebook Fan Page and Linked-In group as a way to be an additional resource for the GEOINT community. We have often talked about how Twitter is a great tool for us to be engaged with our readers and other thought leaders in our industry. Most of the content we deal with is from open sources and we rarely run the risk of divulging state secrets or putting others in harm’s way.

For congressmen and other politicians, too much Twittering may cause security problems, and Rep. Hoekstra found this out with a recent Twitter gaffe in Iraq. Last Thursday, Hoekstra revealed, in real time, the location of his helicopter when entering Baghdad’s Green Zone. Here are his tweets:

“Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I’ve had bb service in Iraq. 11th trip here. 9:41 PM Feb 5th from TwitterBerry”

“Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace.Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here. 11:56 PM Feb 5th from TwitterBerry.”

This seems pretty innocuous right? Public officials travel to Iraq all the time. Don’t they? But the problem was that it was a top secret trip that CNET reported that media outlets like Congressional Quarterly knew of, but did not let the story leak.

Let’s be honest about this. Although it was a secret trip, the tweets were very minor in comparison to the reaction online…thanks to the media/and bloggeers breaking the story, now the bad guys really know all about this trip. This is why at got geoint?, we decided to hold off until today to do a story on this and provide our commentary. We did not want to be part of the machine that further blows this story out of proportion.

Should Hoekstra tweet his location? Probably not a great idea. But, if all of us who follow him on Twitter, just let it slide, then the issue would have been moot. Instead, it has become a huge story that compromises the secrecy of this trip, and the safety of others…way beyond a few quick tweets from a congressman on a helicopter landing in the Green Zone.

Seriously, what do you all think about this? PLEASE post comments on got geoint?: www.gotgeoint.com

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