Nato Uses Twitter To Help Gather Air Strike Targets In Libya – PSFK
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.