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Air Force's Selfie Mission Against ISIS

Mammoth Sniper Challenge
Mammoth Sniper Challenge
December 6, 2016
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In the age of social media and oversharing, we try to teach the upcoming generation how to safely navigate the internet and how easy it is to be traced via social posts. Clearly, this terrorist didn't get that memo before posting his best duckface. Less than 24 hours after intelligence officials found a selfie from an ISIS member, the Air Force launched an attack that would ultimately take out a headquarters building.Airmen stationed in Florida with the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group were browsing social media one morning, when they came across a picture of an ISIS man in front of a building. Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle described the events to DefenseTech:

“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’"

ISIS has been well known for their utilization of social media to lure in recruits and share their victories with members. This time, however, they exposed a fatal vulnerability. So much for those "command and control capabilities." The airmen went to work locating the place that the selfie was taken in front of.Long story short, 22 hours later, three Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs were dropped and detonated on the terrorist headquarters building.There's a lesson to be learned here: don't post your secret headquarters to the internet. There are people out there with a certain set of skills that will look for you, find you, and bomb the crap out of you.Author's Note: The headline image is a selfie of Abu Ahmed, a jihadist in the Tunisian Islamic State posted by David Thomson on 25 January 2015. The USAF has not released the social media posting that resulted in the bombing.

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