ISIS has stopped at nothing, even using social media sites, to get them recognized, and it worked when one member of the Islamic State’s group had his selfie taken in front of the local ISIS headquarters in Daesh, Syria, resulting in the building getting bombed by the United States Air Combat Command. While ISIS has successfully used social media in the past to attract people from all around the world to their cause, in this case, it led their local headquarters to getting photo bombed for real.
On Monday, the current head of the Air Combat Command, Air Force General Hawk Carlisle, talked about the selfie leading to the ISIS headquarters getting bombed. He gave the news as he was addressing the Air Force Association at a breakfast that was hosted by them.
Carlisle talked to the group about how the “guys that were working down out of Hurlburt” (intelligence analysts with the USAF 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG) at Hurlburt Field, Florida) were doing their job of checking out various social media sites, and he stated that “they see some moron standing at this command.” The man bragged on an open forum about how great “the command and control capabilities for Daesh” meaning the ISIS headquarters, were. Within 22 hours, three Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) took out the “entire building,” according to General Carlisle.
Though the attack on the ISIS headquarters took place earlier this year, General Carlisle did not give any details at the breakfast on Wednesday about the exact location of the bombing, the date it occurred, or the social media site that the selfie photo had been discovered at that lead the ISIS headquarters at Daesh to get photo bombed for real. Though ISIS has become more sophisticated in the recruiting tactics the organization uses, by posting selfies of members standing in front of their centers of command and operations, they take the risk that an impromptu photo shoot might lead to them to getting recognition from the United States Air Force.
Besides ISIS incorporating the use of social media, members of the Air Force’s intelligence organization also see social media as a tool to locate terrorist groups and discover more information about them. Combing through the myriads of social media sites that have come into existence is likely tedious work, involving hours of fruitless effort; but, occasionally, all of the hours logged in pay off in a big way.
The work of the 361st ISRG and others is a major aid in the war against terrorism that is taking place. The 361st ISRG was established in 2008. The official site for Hurlbert Field states that the 361st ISRG unit provides “specialized intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance across the spectrum of operations, from conflict through humanitarian relief.”
General Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle serves the United States as the Commander of Air Combat Command (ACC), which is located at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The ACC has over 1,300 aircraft, 32 wings, 19 bases that are used to meet today’s challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense. The ACC also “provides conventional and information warfare forces to all unified commands to ensure air, space and information superiority for warfighters and national decision-makers” according to an Air Force bio about General Carlisle.
For probably most people, an indiscriminate selfie taken years ago might, at most, prove to be an embarrassment years down the road; but, for an ISIS member who had his selfie taken in front of ISIS headquarters in Daesh, Syria, it resulted in the photo bombing of the building by the U.S. Air Force. Thanks to the intelligence work done by the U.S. Air Force’s 361st ISRG, the building and its location was recognized, leading to its being taken out by three Joint Direct Attack Munitions.
Written By Douglas Cobb
Newsweek: Selfie Leads Air Force to ISIS Target
Washington Times: Terrorist ‘moron’ reveals ISIS HQ
in online selfie, U.S. Air Force promptly destroys compound
Hurlbert Field Official Site: 361st Intelligence, Surveillance,
U.S. Air Force: GENERAL HERBERT J. “HAWK” CARLISLE
Photo by U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Bright/Released)
Courtesy of PACAF’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons 2.0