CIA ADMITS TO MONITORING FACEBOOK, TWITTER POSTS WORLDWIDE
November 4, 2011 – 20:51 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – The CIA monitors social media activity around the
world from an unassuming warehouse in Virginia.
As many as 5 million tweets, Facebook status updates, blog posts,
comments, radio and television stations – anything that is made openly
communicated – are tracked by a government agency set up in response
to the 9/11 Commission’s report.
“Vengeful librarians,” as the agents at the Open Source Center are
called, are trained to look at social media activity in various
languages, on various platforms, from various countries.
The agency gauged public opinion after the U.S.-led attack that killed
Osama Bin Laden, by tracking online activity across the Middle East.
The agency also predicted uprisings in Iran, Egypt and elsewhere in
In places where media is biased, stifled or forced out of publication,
the agency is able to use social media updates to gain access to new
information. Agents are placed globally, in U.S. embassies, to help
keep a closer eye on certain areas.
Tweets can’t be attributed to location, so experts at the agency
cross-reference the language used with the content of the message to
determine a more specific location, according to the report.
In cases where the agency must rely on civilian reports, agents use
the limited media reports, available intelligence and social media
trends to determine whom among the informants they can trust. The
report said that social media users tend to correct each other,
so the best information is usually cultivated communally.
The decision to focus on social media sites was born out of the
Iranian elections of 2009. Agents were able to pinpoint which group
dissented against the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad through the
language-Farsi-used in social media.
It is unknown how long the agency has been working, but the 9/11
Commission, whose findings created this agency, was set up in late
2002, according to the Associated Press.