USAF Finds ISIS Headquarters Via Social Media and Bombs It

Just another reason not to restrict ISIS accounts on Twitter - a careless ISIS member posted a picture of himself standing outside an IS headquarters on an open forum. The U.S. was able to identify it and bombed it.

Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, head of Air Combat Command, described Monday how airmen at Hurlburt Field, Florida, with the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, recognized a comment on social media and turned that into an airstrike that resulted in three Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) missiles destroying am Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) headquarters building. “It was a post on social media to bombs on target in less than 24 hours,” Carlisle said. #8220; Incredible work when you think about.”


Carlisle was careful not to share all of the Air Force’s secrets to include the location of the building but this is how he told the story at the recent breakfast meeting in Washington D.C. hosted by the Air Force Association.

“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for ... ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.”

As the Aviationist says:

Although the U.S. Air Force did not release any further information about the location of the headquarters or the aircraft that carried out the attack, the story is quite interesting as it proves that not only are social media used by ISIS for propaganda and recruiting purposes, they are also used by U.S. intel team to identify ground targets, supplementing ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) activities conducted with the “usual” platforms, like satellites, spyplanes and UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

Carlisle also gave some statistics during his talk:

Carlisle used his speech to outline the amount of destruction by the Air Force and coalition aircraft, including 4,200 strikes, dropping 14,000 weapons, resulting in about 13,000 enemy fighters killed. The coalition has destroyed more than 1,000 vehicles and 50 improvised explosive device factories, and most of the "cash cows" bringing money into the group.

He claims the U.S. has disrupted 90% of IS's oil collection and refining capacity.

I'm not buying all of his statistics. And I see he didn't mention the flip side of the coin -- the 2,300 Humvees IS has taken from Iraqi forces since it took Mosul. Or the gains ISIS has made in Syria. ISIS is also expanding in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as Libya and other parts of Africa.

Here's a recent New York Times graphic showing how ISIS expands.

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  • Display: Sort:
    How do you say in Arabic: "Loose lips (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 10:06:43 AM EST
    Here: (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 03:15:57 PM EST
    الشفاه فضفاضة غرق السفن

    or, (none / 0) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 03:40:18 PM EST
    "way to go, genius,
    I've got to hand it to you,
    here's your head."

    That's awesome :) (none / 0) (#46)
    by sj on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:33:10 AM EST
    And I believe you.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Jun 07, 2015 at 09:01:55 PM EST
    A.  iSIS knows they were bombed, whether or not the govt says anything about it.

    B. It may be that ISIS already knew what led to the targeting of their building, so they didn't learn anything new.

    C.  They go from making death threats against the CEO of Twitter to being undone by it.  This cannot be good for morale, and unless they divert more resources to monitoring all their social media platforms, not just Twitter, such a blunder may yet be repeated.

    Comment deleted (3.67 / 3) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 10:05:17 AM EST
    in response to this for insult to commenter. Mordigan will go into time out again if he continues.

    Two more comments of Mortigans deleted (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 08:21:50 PM EST
    Mortigan, one more comment with insults to other commenters and you will be banned. Last warning.

    Okay great! (3.50 / 2) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 04, 2015 at 10:44:30 PM EST
    But why in the &)&^^%&79 world should we tell them how we found'em?

    Does any of the dunces in the military not understand that ISIS won't do this again now that they know how they were found.


    I completely agree with you Jim (2.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 11:18:52 AM EST
    But many Conservatives continue to make claims that Obama is a negligent CIC and the only way to dispel that myth is let slip.  I think this is too much slippage though. I think someone might be in a little hot water.

    I think too they weigh the benefits of a good (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 06:46:30 PM EST
    morale booster story against the cost of revealing we watch social media closely, which really should not be news to anyone. Some idiot Isis guy just slipped up, it is not that they did not know we were watching.

    I don't think this was a morale booster (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 08:31:04 PM EST
    It is too current and dealing with ISIS, which every move in that area is classified right now.  My husband flinched hearing it.  His first MOS was military Intelligence officer.  According to him you never want to confirm anything for the enemy.  You want them to firmly believe you are a pack of spit dribbling idiots until the last day arrives.

    Sorry, did not necessarilty mean the morale of (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by ruffian on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:04:07 PM EST
    the militarily. I think the public needs to see some successes about now. That is, if the government wants to keep up this fight.

    See my comment @ #42 (none / 0) (#49)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 09:55:45 AM EST
    Where I make some points relative to your worries.

    I hope somebody is in a lot of hot water. (3.50 / 2) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 04:54:51 PM EST
    And I don't Obama is negligent. I think he is letting his advisers micromanage the war, which in effect means he is.

    And I agree that the slip was on  purpose. No one at that level could make that big of a gaffe. Or at least I pray that to be true.

    As to the theory that they are setting ISIS up I don't agree. I mean, how so?? Telling them that we found them on social media just tells them to be more careful. There's no "flanking" movement or fake involved.


    I have heard the micro manage (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 08:22:39 PM EST
    Complaint.  But we have no evidence backing it up.  It is a philosophy shopped around by no longer working special operations types who lost contracts as contractors under the Obama Administration.

    Every move right now is so tightly hand in glove with what the State Department is dealing with and negotiating, they are all standing on every trigger pull.  I don't want someone not part of the whole picture pulling a trigger on anyone.

    The Bush administration did just allow everyone to swing, that was the first thing Petraeus shutdown.  That was part of the deal for him to even take on Iraq.  Everyone answered to him.  Everyone did their part in HIS plan. That carried on to McChrystal and McRaven in Afghanistan, and it provided the most success we have experienced if you must use force and create diplomacy.

    I don't see how the State Department could even begin to accomplish any sort of negotiations without the whole mechanism being absolutely on the same page and tight as a drum.

    I never want to go back to the old days.  NO THANKS


    I have the feeling that (none / 0) (#6)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 11:46:05 AM EST
    given the circumstances of where and when the revelation was made, that it was vetted before it released.  Otherwise, Hawk is going to be in horse pucks up to his tuchus before this day is done.  😃

    Why did you downrate my comment? (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 01:04:56 PM EST
    Why are you still (4.50 / 6) (#8)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 02:06:45 PM EST
    Worried about  who downrates you (or why), or anybody else, for that matter?
    Ignore the ratings, Tracy.  You will feel better.  You have enough other, much more substantive, things to worry about.

    Ganging up downrating has been (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 03:12:40 PM EST
    Discouraging participation, encouraging bullying, and blog clogging fights.

    Honestly (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 05:15:31 PM EST
    you worry to much about ratings.  Who cares.  As far as encouraging or discouraging I don't think most pay any attention.  

    It isn't just me (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 05:25:08 PM EST
    Other participants here have curtailed their participation because of those behaviors.  

    Other blogs have (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 05:26:37 PM EST
    Evolved in different ways because rating systems have had an adverse affect on participation.

    I couldn' t care less about ratings (none / 0) (#43)
    by sj on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:20:11 AM EST
    But the blog clogging is sure annoying.

    If you could care less about ratings (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 10:15:59 AM EST
    Why do you spend so much time down rating commenters.  What a bizarre statement to make.

    He's downrated me a few times (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 10:32:52 AM EST
    and I've never had a problem with his doing so.

    You think you're being tricksy (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by sj on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:03:18 PM EST
    If you could care less about ratings (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 09:15:59 AM MDT

    Why do you spend so much time down rating commenters.  What a bizarre statement to make.

    But you're really being belligerent. Nevertheless, I will say once again that we are limited to 200 comments in a thread. Think about what would happen if, instead of all those 5s, there was a comment that had something like "well said!" or "I agree".

    On the downrating side, why take up one of those few 200 comments just to say, "you're being rude/stupid/belligerent/patronizing/deceitful/etc" when I can just "2" your a$$.

    Now, carry on with your highjack of the thread. Oh. And I won't downrate this obnoxious comment even though your accusation can clearly be refuted by checking my rating history.


    I'm not going to downrate this (none / 0) (#44)
    by sj on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:23:30 AM EST
    comment even though you are taking the discussion off-topic again.

    probably because (4.50 / 4) (#9)
    by The Addams Family on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 02:31:37 PM EST
    you agreed with Jim

    apparently that's a sin in the eyes of some who comment here

    i won't even call it a crime - the right word is "sin," given the fundamentalist religious fervor surrounding the moral duty to disagree with Jim & downrate everything he says, even if the same fundamentalist downrater would uprate the same comment if it had the religiously correct imprimatur

    in a recent thread concerning the question of free speech, i uprated both Jim & Anne - an unlikely duo, but they were the only ones in the thread who were espousing the liberal principles that get an upvote from me


    Well Democrat House Member (4.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 05:30:11 PM EST
    An Iraq War veteran Tulsi Gabbard just agreed with Jim Mordiggan.  And Generals aren't usually vetted when speaking at functions.  Gabbard sits on the House Armed Services committee.  I can promise you this General has received a few phone calls and hasn't heard the end of this.  Gabbard equated it with destructive bragging.

    It will take more than one disaffected (none / 0) (#22)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 06:14:39 PM EST
    Congressman for me to change my mind, MT.

    Nice try on the appeal to authority argument.  8/10.  


    I don't think you have a clue (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 08:08:09 PM EST
    Of what you speak right now.  Red flag went up immediately for Jim, probably because of his past military exposure.  Red flag went up immediately for me because of what we are told our spouses shouldn't share with us, nor should we expect it, and if anyone does slip something out of classified  we should be responsible with that. There are still slips.

    It is soldier 101 though for anyone who has served that you don't reveal tactics or operations.  The General flubbed.


    This (none / 0) (#30)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 09:20:30 PM EST
    is neither a slip or a flub. This this was planned speech, he planned to tell that story and he knew the ramifications of doing so. This is a four star general, you don't get there by forgetting soldier 101. At least I dearly hope so.

     No matter what the motive he had to know how much he was giving away. Do you really think he would  stupidly sell out his men to put a cheap feather in his hat? Or an even cheaper feather in Obama's?  


    My husband disagrees (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 06, 2015 at 02:00:08 PM EST
    He says Generals aren't constantly vetted, they are instead trusted.  If a member of the Armed Services Committee spoke out and checked this General on his sharing of current information, this General flubbed.

    Read the comments on AirForceTimes.com (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 06, 2015 at 02:17:34 PM EST
    Click on comments, you don't have to be signed in to read them, only comment. The very first comment is WTF?  And every other comment after that.

    Re (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Jun 06, 2015 at 02:52:37 PM EST

    Argument from authority

    Argument from authority, also authoritative argument and appeal to authority, is a common form of argument which leads to a logical fallacy when used in argumentative reasoning.[1]

    In informal reasoning, the appeal to authority is a form of argument attempting to establish a statistical syllogism.[2] The appeal to authority relies on an argument of the form:[3]

    A is an authority on a particular topic
    A says something about that topic
    A is probably correct

    Fallacious examples of using the appeal include any appeal to authority used in the context of logical reasoning, and appealing to the position of an authority or authorities to dismiss evidence,[2][4][5][6] as authorities can come to the wrong judgments through error, bias, dishonesty, or falling prey to groupthink. Thus, the appeal to authority is not a generally reliable argument for establishing facts.[7

    Did you write this? (none / 0) (#34)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 06, 2015 at 02:57:19 PM EST
    It's pretty obvious (none / 0) (#35)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sat Jun 06, 2015 at 03:01:51 PM EST
    that I'm not claiming authorship here, and where it's originally from.

    But, as Vaughn Williams said about his 4th Symphony, it's what I meant.


    Here you go, oc (none / 0) (#45)
    by sj on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:32:40 AM EST
    It probably took as much time for me to find this, as it did for you to write your comment. And M88 is right that it's an excellent example.

    I'm inclined to agree with MT that's a mistake, but I'm content to state that it's just my opinion and leave it at that.

    Opinions are all anybody here is offering.


    IMO, you are an inexhaustible (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 09:53:05 AM EST
    advocate for the google.  BTW, m88 truncated the Vaughn Williams quotation.

    'Tis, true. I am (none / 0) (#54)
    by sj on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:22:03 PM EST
    IMO, you are an inexhaustible  (none / 0) (#48)
    by oculus on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 08:53:05 AM MDT

    advocate for the google.  

    Even though the google is now evil.

    Still, it's hard to beat. It is an excellent place to get a start on any sort of research. Because the google knows all and sees all. Even the erroneous stuff.

    And probably stores it on NSA hardware. (Which is a completely unsubstantiated accusation. I just say that because the google has surrendered to the dark side).


    Did you get the point (none / 0) (#56)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 04:34:56 PM EST
    about appeals to authority?

    And I was quoting directly from the July 1933 The Dominant magazine, oculus.  Your research skills seem to be a bit rusty.</s>


    That's "Democratic" House member... (none / 0) (#38)
    by unitron on Sun Jun 07, 2015 at 04:51:13 AM EST
    ...since an adjective is what's needed there, not the noun the right wing continuously misuses because they think it sounds more like an epithet.

    I would assume (none / 0) (#13)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 04:14:54 PM EST
    that they know what they are doing. This didn't leak , they came out and announced it to the world. They wanted ISIS to "know" this piece of data for some reason.

    Perhaps it's just a smokescreen covering up a better, possibly human intel source. Maybe the are just trying to scare them away from social media in order to suppress their recruitment and incitement activities in the west.

    Jim, I thought you were a military supporter, yet here you are calling them dunces just because you can't get outside of your worldview for even a moment of contemplation.



    A dunce is a dunce and the military has their (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 04:46:54 PM EST
    share of them. And I am a military supporter but not blindly so. I remember a poster that was in the squadron's ready room that showed an aircraft in deep trouble in a thunderstorm titled, "Was this flight necessary?"

    I like the thought that they released how the determined the  target to cover how they really found it, via human INTEL, but I doubt it.

    More likely it was a cover for the lack of success we've been having. Or more accurately, the lack of effort. And that's been driven by the WH micromanaging the war. Which is what LBJ did with a notable lack of success.


    The family soldier agrees with Jim (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 08:53:25 PM EST
    A dunce is a dunce and the military has their share of them :)

    It's pretty well known by most vets (none / 0) (#55)
    by NYShooter on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 12:59:07 PM EST
    and, I'm sure your husband would agree, that a fairly large number of high ranking officers attained their exalted positions by simply "keeping their heads down." During their periodic performance reviews the first thing the reviewers look for is "screw-ups." In other words, the punishment for officers who attempt bold/innovative moves, and fail, is greater than the reward is for officers who attempt the same things, and succeed.

    I hope that makes sense.

    There are a quite a lot of 3..4 star Generals who, in looking over their careers, didn't have many notable achievements. But, as long as there were no derogatory items, longevity, and inertia, will get them promoted to the upper echelons.


    If (none / 0) (#16)
    by FlJoe on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 05:11:45 PM EST
    "dunces" are making it to four star general we are indeed doomed.

    Just smart enough to concoct a

    cover for the lack of success
    but too stupid to fake the intelligence source. Brilliant!

    Because you are not happy

    with the lack of effort
    that you demand, you assign stupidity, duplicity and incompetence to the highest levels of our military and political for any action involving ISIS, successful or not.

    We have had a few 4 star dunces (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 09:05:40 PM EST
    The Air Force is having a really hard time staying on the same page with the other branches this entire past decade. They've really been struggling to remain relevant.  And if this is how tight their military intelligence officers are....Jasus Christ

    Remember when no Army or Marine General would take command in Iraq, and only Air Force Generals would tell the Bush administration what they wanted to hear...right up to David Petraeus taking over.  His take over came with terms too.  Up to that point though Air Force Generals made a disaster of Iraq...happily, they appeared genuinely happy to do it.  If they had been willing to stand their ground with the Bush administration telling the truth along with the other branch Generals, I wonder if more people would be alive today?  But maybe, because they don't know much about combat on the ground they had no clue.  I don't know.  I only know they were the picture of incompetency.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#4)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Jun 05, 2015 at 10:07:57 AM EST
    by making that 'mistake' they set ISIS up to do something else stupid instead.

    It's called basic military strategy.

    It struck me as being (none / 0) (#36)
    by KeysDan on Sat Jun 06, 2015 at 03:10:59 PM EST
    a calculated release of information.  A "chilling effect" on ISIS use of social media making a prime communication and operational means more difficult and riskier. And, no doubt based on ISIS intelligence (or suspicions) that we have that capability.  Just as previous information on cell phone use impeded its use.    I think a general named Hawk would be on this, but, of course, the dunce theory cannot be discounted entirely.

    As in, what's in a name? (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by oculus on Sat Jun 06, 2015 at 03:24:55 PM EST
    The most charitable possibility (none / 0) (#39)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jun 07, 2015 at 12:07:46 PM EST
    was that the HQ was identified by a source they did not want to disclose and the the selfie was a cover story.

    Kind of like the WWII Brits sending congratulory radio messages to nonexistent port watcher spies  in Italy to cover Ultra sourced convoy info.

    Or it could've been another form of social (none / 0) (#40)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Jun 07, 2015 at 12:26:10 PM EST
    media, or there was enough metadata with the time stamp of the tweet and the angle of the sun in the photo to determine the location it came from exactly.

    I'm far from (none / 0) (#41)
    by lentinel on Sun Jun 07, 2015 at 05:17:27 PM EST
    being a military strategist, but isn't kind of unintelligent to divulge how they learned the location of that headquarters?

    "Carlisle was careful not to share all of the Air Force's secrets to include the location of the building", but not, apparently, to the method used to find it.

    I would think that the revelation about how they used social media would cause that particular avenue of intel to be shut down.

    This IS Unreal... (none / 0) (#47)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jun 08, 2015 at 09:51:28 AM EST
    ...dropping 14,000 weapons, resulting in about 13,000 enemy fighters killed.

    Less than one person killed with each drop, that seems crazy to me considering the cost of the weapon and the infrastructure that gets it into the air.

    The other question, how many non-enemy fighters were killed ?

    Why Business is Booming Under ISIS (none / 0) (#57)
    by RickyJim on Tue Jun 09, 2015 at 09:31:35 AM EST
    Bombing them here and there is not going to have much an effect, IMHO.  Link.

    Obviously (none / 0) (#58)
    by FlJoe on Tue Jun 09, 2015 at 09:42:31 AM EST
    a bunch of "tax and spend" liberals.