menu

Advertising

Commanders admit Libya tweets are part of overall intelligence picture and help choose missile strike targets, subject to corroboration.

Dory Carr-Harris, PSFK
  • 16 june 2011



Powered by Guardian.co.uk
This article titled “Libya air strikes: Nato uses Twitter to help gather targets” was written by Richard Norton-Taylor and Nick Hopkins, for The Guardian on Wednesday 15th June 2011 14.52 UTC

Nato is using information gleaned from Twitter to help analysts judge which sites could be targeted by commanders for bombing and missile strikes in Libya.

Potentially relevant tweets are fed into an intelligence pool then filtered for relevance and authenticity, and are never passed on without proper corroboration. However, without “boots on the ground” to guide commanders, officials admit that Twitter is now part of the overall “intelligence picture”.

They said Nato scooped up all the open source information it could to help understand Gaddafi, who is constantly changing his tactics and concealing himself – and his forces – in places such as schools and libraries.

“We take all sorts of information, but we can’t act on a single source,” said a Nato official. “It helps draw our attention to certain areas of the country where we see Gaddafi forces.[That] allows us to take action.”

The official suggested the sheer size of Libya made it difficult to get a full picture of what was happening across the country.

He said the organisation monitors Twitter feeds from Tripoli and other places for “snippets of information”. These could then be tested, corroborated or not, by Nato’s own sources, including direct lines of communication with the rebels, and imagery and eavesdropping from Nimrod spy planes. Nato is also aware that Gaddafi might be using Twitter to feed false information. “We have to be careful it is not used for propaganda [by Gaddafi’s forces],” the Nato official said.

Wing Commander Mike Bracken, another Nato spokesman, confirmed Twitter was being monitored.

“Any military campaign relies on something that we call ‘fused information’,” he told a briefing. “So we will take information from every source we can. And if we get information from a press conference in Rome or we get information from somebody passing secondhand, we’ll get information from open source on the internet, we’ll get Twitter, you name any source of media and our fusion centre will deliver all of that into useable intelligence.

“The commander will assess what he can use, what he can trust, and the experience of the operators, the intelligence officers, and the trained military personnel and civilian support staff will give him those options. And he will decide if that’s good information, I’m going to act on it. Where it comes from, again, it’s not relevant to the commander. He will use all that is available to deliver his mission.”

Nato, he said, was being astute and would “take information from any source it can. The role of the intelligence officers and the personnel who work in headquarters here and in the other Nato headquarters is to fuse all of that information together and then provide the commander the best situation awareness he can be given.

“Let’s be quite clear, Nato does not have boots on the ground.”

The Ministry of Defence said it was normal military practice to gather all sources of open source information and that tweets from people in cities such as Misrata and Benghazi would be thrown into the intelligence mix.

“All this material is brought together and the intelligence analysts then have to decide what weight to put on them,” said a spokesman. “You would never act on one single source of intelligence, but Twitter can contribute to the overall intelligence picture.”

The Guardian reported earlier this month that former SAS soldiers and other western employees of private security companies are helping Nato identify targets in the Libyan port city of Misrata. Special forces veterans were passing details of the locations and movements of Gaddafi’s forces to the Naples headquarters of Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Canadian commander of Nato forces, official sources said. The targets are then verified by spy planes and US Predator drones.

“One piece of human intelligence is not enough,” a source said. “The former soldiers are there with the blessing of Britain, France and other Nato countries, which have supplied them with communications equipment.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

Advertising
Trending

Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Advertising
Experiential Marketing Today

UNICEF’s ‘Time Machine’ Tells Stories With Data

An experiential installation at the UN General Assembly reminds us why every child matters

Design & Architecture Today

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Today

Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

The manufacturer is trying to patent a projection system that would allow them to project images onto a plane's interior surfaces

Latin America Today

Colombians Teach Dance To Fund Students’ Education

Chocó to Dance is a platform that shows you how to replicate popular Latin dances to help create scholarships for local students

Related Expert

Jay Sidhu

Mobile Banking

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Culture Today

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World’s Largest Open-Air Gallery

Tiger Beer and a neighborhood-minded nonprofit celebrate and promote New York's creative spirit by beautifying 100 security gates

Automotive Today

Bike-Share Program Helps Students Save Money And Get To Class On Time

Zipcar and Zagster are creating sponsored programs across 500 U.S. college campuses

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs Today

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

Technology Today

How Technology Can Save The World By Saving Time

PSFK attends the Social Good Summit 2016 to see how new tech is changing the world for the better

Advertising Today

Lancôme’s Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Rosie Batty is the new face of the Love Your Age series, and is using the platform to bring awareness to a prevalent and deadly problem

Travel Today

Marriott’s Gravity Room Installation Gives Travelers A New Perspective

The luxury hotel chain's #MGravityRoom invites visitors to snap and share pictures of its inverted set up

Fitness / Sport Today

Shoe-Worn Device Helps Kids Perfect Their Soccer Kick

A new wearable helps youth players improve their placement skills and technique

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Syndicated Yesterday

Banned Books Week Urges People To Seek Out Controversial Works

Joining the annual celebration of the right to read, US author Jessica Herthel called for 'more information, more voices' to protect diversity

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

Outdoor Camp Presented In 360° VR By X Games Gold Medalist

The video features campers riding BMX trails, zip lining through the woods, and performing big-air jumps

No search results found.