The Central Intelligence Agency is systematically monitoring Twitter, following up to 5 million foreign tweets a day, according to a new report.
The CIA’s Open Source Center reviews and analyzes information widely available to the general public, including Twitter and Facebook, and keeps eyes on everything from blogs to tweets to more traditional media, The Associated Press says in a feature article on the unit.
Analysts monitor information in an array of languages and cross-reference it to existing intelligence, and are often called on to provide information on the mood of a region after a foreign policy event…
When President Barack Obama gave a speech addressing Middle Eastern issues a few weeks [after Bin Laden's killing], the center monitored negative Arabic and Turkic tweets, denouncing the president as too pro-Israel, and Hebrew tweets criticizing the president for being too pro-Arab.
The center’s analysis ends up in Obama’s daily intelligence briefing in some form almost every day, reports the AP.
The CIA started reviewing social media after watching Twitter’s influence during the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran, when thousands protested the contested results of an election that kept Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in office.
If you believe this started in 2009 or the CIA is a solo operation – I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Want to know how common the task has been, rent Redford’s movie, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR sometime. The plot doesn’t have to derive from today’s Tweets; but, Redford’s job description in the movie – back in 1975 – certainly fits.