The Pentagon is taking steps to monitor tweets and comments of senior military officials that offend them, according to The National Pulse. The surveillance effort will reportedly enable to U.S. Army’s Protective Services Battalion the authority to pinpoint a user’s location.
The PSB is the Pentagon’s Secret Service equivalent that was designed to protect high-ranking officials in the military from “assassination, kidnapping, injury or embarrassment,” according to Army records. But recently, that scope has reportedly been expanded to include tracking social media content that espouses “negative sentiment” and “direct, indirect, and veiled” threats, as outlined in the Army’s 2022 protective services procurement document.
The document details how the battalion uses “tools” and “misattribution” to conceal its presence on social media and adds that it has access to Twitter’s “firehose,” which allows it to scrounge for tweets without issue. The battalion also has access to other sites, such as 4Chan, Reddit, and YouTube.
Ilia Siatitsa, program director at Privacy International, said that monitoring comments for “crimes and terrorist threats” may be legally valid, but added that making a negative comment about someone does not constitute grounds for surveillance operations. Siatitsa continued to say that expression “is a quintessential part of democratic society.”
Nevertheless, countering “disinformation” has gained a foothold in the federal government. When Elon Musk took over Twitter, it was revealed that the FBI colluded with Twitter executives to censor the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story.
The news comes as Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley will retire later this year. He was previously lambasted across social media for blaming the Capitol riot on “white rage” and notoriously defended critical race theory at a time when many pointed out the politicization of the military, according to American Pigeon. Milley was also criticized for going behind former President Donald Trump’s back and calling Chinese General Li.