Congressman's Twittering Prompts Pentagon Action

(AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Michigan), a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, caused what some have argued was a major lapse in security last week when he used the micro-blogging site Twitter to post real-time updates about a secret congressional envoy into Iraq.

Hoekstra's blogging blunder has now prompted action from the Pentagon, whose spokesman told the Associated Press today that they will be reevaluating their current policy, which is to keep the movements of congressional delegations secret until after the parties have arrived at their location.

In light of the popularity of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, the Pentagon said it may have to find different ways to communicate its non-disclosure policy to delegates traveling abroad.

The troublesome twittering occured last week during a Middle East trip led by House Minority Leader John Boehner . The delegation had been the subject of a media embargo - although many news outlets were aware of the trip, it was kept under-wraps due to obvious safety concerns.

Such apprehensions were evidently not obvious to Hoekstra, however, who used his blackberry to give blog subscribers a play-by-play account of the group's arrival in the region.

"Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I've had bb service in Iraq. 11th trip here," he blogged from his handheld device.

Hoekstra continued to give updates on the convoy's progress through the city, writing: "Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace. Headed to new US embassy. Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here."

Hoekstra's office said the congressman was only trying to keep his digitally-savvy constituents well-informed and that he was well aware of any inherent safety risks.

"As the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Hoekstra is fully aware of security issues when travelling abroad. He believes in giving people in West Michigan as much access as possible, and posting on Twitter allows him to provide real-time insight into the sights and sounds of his congressional activities," his office said in a statement to Politico.

As for Hoekstra, he appears to be undeterred and has continued to update his twitter page several times a day.



  • Christina Ruffini

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