As the winter Olympics begin, the Department of Homeland Security has disclosed that it will be monitoring the comments and posts on several websites and social media outlets like Twitter, National Terror Alert, The Drudge Report, The Blotter and others for information on possible terror threats.
The National Operations Center of DHS will watch the web for information, according to the statement, to “provide situational awareness” in the event of natural disaster, an “act of terrorism, or other manmade disaster.”
“The Olympics are a potential target for such events,” said the statement. The statement did not list all web sites and social media that the NOC will monitor, but provided 31 examples, many of them, like the Blotter, sites that cover breaking news, security, or terror.
DHS officials say they will not be monitoring the web sites extensively, but would use the sites as a reference and open source tool in the event of an incident or emergency. DHS officials also used the monitoring of social media sites in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake to aid rescue efforts.
One official told ABC News that monitoring the web sites during an emergency is like watching “a canary in a coal mine,” since social media sites can have real-time information. The official said the raw information that is available on the sites can help first responders and law enforcement officials make quick assessments to help in their response to events.
Editors Note – Some will no doubt speak out against this however, from what we’ve read, this is a good thing. I’ll explain. There are a number of websites that monitor and aggregate news related to homeland security, such as ours. Often times we’ll pick up a small story from a local paper or social media site that may be interesting to our readers, but probably seems insignificant to most people, including ourselves.
What may seem insignificant to us and others, may be of importance to an agency such as DHS that has a vast amount of intelligence and situational awareness to draw from. They have the ability and resources to put stories and posts together that we would never dream are connected.If it makes the country safer, we’re all for it.
The goal of this site has always been to maintain awareness, encourage individual and community preparedness and keep America safe. Any role we can play in acheiving those goals is welcomed.