Twitter is great for grassroots organising—Obama and McCain both use it to relay biddings to acolytes. That same, real-time insta-blast networking quality would also make it a jee-golly-awesome organizing tool for terrorists, according to a draft Army intelligence report. Mix Twitter with mobile phones and you've got highly mobile, connected terrorists using the same tools you use to tell your friends about the zit on your butt that just won't go away. There are three scenarios the Army is worried about, and one of them is genuinely scary.
The first is the most direct, and obvious: Terrorist Asshole sends reports, pictures and other info in real-time to the other terrorists in his group. Scenario three is also fairly standard, following a soldier on Twitter and gleaning info for identity hacks and other nastiness, like on Facebook or MySpace.
But scenario two is more like terrorism enters the web 2.0 era—Terrorist Asshole is strapped with an explosive vest and uses his mobile phone for tweets and taking pictures, which are constantly monitored Terrorist Bastard, who has the remote detonator for the vest. Based on the feed, Terrorist Bastard pops the vest when Terrorist Asshole reaches the target.
There's no evidence terrorists are using Twitter for this kind of ghoulishness yet—though the Army has picked up several pro-Hezbollah tweets (so they are watching you)—but this is always going to be one of the downsides of highly effective social networking tools. Terrorist cells, after all, are just another social network. [Danger Room, Image: Danger Room]