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Twitter Leaked Obama's Visit To Afghanistan 177

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-a-secret? dept.
hypnosec writes "When you're the President of the United States, sometimes certain activities you're involved in can be hard to keep secret — and yesterday was no exception, after Twitter let it slip that Obama was secretly in Kabul. On Tuesday, the White House released a fabricated itinerary — consisting of all-day meetings in the Oval Office to cover up the fact that Obama was secretly flying to Afghanistan. Whilst only a few US journalists were aware of this event, by mid-morning, a lot more people were suddenly in on the revelation courtesy of Twitter. The first tweet to let the virtual cat out of the bag was Afghanistan news site TOLOnews which reported: 'United States President Barack Obama has arrived in Kabul to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai.'"
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Twitter Leaked Obama's Visit To Afghanistan

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  • headline incorrect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Klync (152475) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:25PM (#39870925)

    I love to hate on twitter as much as the next slashdotter, but the summary makes it clear that the headline is incorrect and misleading, possibly to the point of damaging Twitter's reputation. What you *meant* to say was:

    Afghanistan news site TOLOnews Leaked Obama's Visit To Afghanistan (via Twitter)

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:29PM (#39870977)

      You'd think that'd be natively understood, but we'll see posts later in this article about how Twitter's bad, etc.

      • by amRadioHed (463061) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:39PM (#39871125)

        I wouldn't expect anyone to understand it without reading the article, the headline is just plain wrong.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cdrudge (68377)

          And most people here barely read the headline before posting as an expert on whatever article the summary might link to.

        • by KhabaLox (1906148)

          Replace "Twitter" with "Wikileaks." They're not *exactly* the same, as there is presumably a human editor in the Wikileaks process, but it is nonetheless an interesting comparison.

          • Yeah, it's not at all the same since Wikileaks is an organization, not a communications medium. An accurate substitution would be something like replacing Twitter with the World Wide Web, which clearly does not make sense.

      • by sootman (158191)

        Actually, it'll probably devolve into a thread about Obama. :-)

        Back on topic, no-- the headline is HORRIBLE. There is a HUGE difference between "Twitter leaked..." and "... leaked on Twitter." When I first read it I thought it meant exactly what it says--that Twitter (the entity) somehow knew his location and accidentally published it--like, a tweet that was put in but set to be published later, or revealed by a geotag ("Posted by THE_REAL_BARACK via Mobile from Kabul") or something.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by EdIII (1114411)

        but we'll see posts later in this article about how Twitter's bad, etc.

        How about right now?

        Twitter is bad, only because it sucks.

        Seriously.. what is the point? Less space than a txt message on a cell phone. It practically begs to be used for the most boring, banal, and irrelevant crap in the Universe. It is the online version of tabloids, just with less content and less bat-children.

        I'm not remotely interested in having a real time feed of "Ashton Kutcher" (if it really is him and not somebody working for him) and what color his last dump was, or that his oatmeal was lumpy,

        • Twitter is good as an RSS for people who can't use RSS. Just post your actual message to a normal website or blog and "tweet" a link to it.

          Since I actually can use RSS and I don't have a blog, it's useless to me.

          • Twitter is a good way to give short feedback to companies/organizations that A) lack forums, and B) never respond to email. You can do the equivalent of shouting out in a crowd, and if what you say matches the feelings of the room others will shout it out too, and you might get a response.

            The other good thing about Twitter is that it's a fast way for person-to-person conversation when there's no existing connection between them (i.e. no common forums they visit, etc.). When Austin and Bastrop had multiple

    • by Bigby (659157)

      Actually, they leaked it, but Twitter turned the leak into a collapsed dam releasing a wall of water down the valley.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Blue Stone (582566)

      An even more accurate way to look at it is "Obama's security team fails to do its job".

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:48PM (#39871279) Homepage

        An even more accurate way to look at it is "Obama's security team fails to do its job".

        How the hell do you keep something like moving POTUS a secret? The convoy and Airforce One aren't exactly subtle.

        Once this information is known by anybody, it can just as easily become public ... more so with things like Twitter.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          well, you could throw the journalists you invite to cover the visit into gitmo(and well, confiscate all their phones and other stuff first too).

          though, why fly with af1? so the russians know exactly where he is?

        • I think you are arguing that it is a non-story.

          The rational approach seems to say that it is either:
          A) a non-story, or
          B) a slow-news-day story about how Obama's security team tried and failed to keep secret the president's whereabouts.

          I'm not convinced that the grandparent thinks that it is a news-worthy story. He/She's only saying that choice B is a "more accurate way to look at it" than the original headline. It's kind of like saying that a fern is "more human-like" than a sentence.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            B) a slow-news-day story about how Obama's security team tried and failed to keep secret the president's whereabouts.

            Bah, they were too busy lining up the hookers. ;-)

            He/She's only saying that choice B is a "more accurate way to look at it" than the original headline.

            Well, the original headline was copied verbatim from the first linked Article.

            Whining about Slashdot writing an inflammatory headline that they didn't write is kinda pointless. TFS is pretty much a cut and paste as well.

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          More importantly why should it be secret, there is something horribly wrong with secret head of state meetings, something inherently corrupt and really security is not a good enough excuse.

          The big secrecy seemed more to revolve around adding a decade to the hostile occupation of Afghanistan. Letting it all slide because an election is up and coming and the majority of people, globally are sick of America's military occupations of other countries. All with promises to rebuild infrastructure but reality o

    • by Nimey (114278)

      What makes you think Slashdot's editors give two shits about the truth? This place is a tabloid with occasional interesting discussions.

    • by petersam (754644) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @03:05PM (#39871477)
      I'm not even sure that "leaked" is the correct word to use. He was in Afghanistan. It's hard to hide Air Force One, the motorcade, etc. They were reporting the news, i.e. what they're expected to do.
    • by TigerTime (626140)

      People don't rat people out. Twitter rats people out. Eliminating Twitter eliminates the problem (sarcasm)

    • Twitter owns the tweets, tough luck, making twitter the publisher of a national secret. not that it matters..

      besides, pretty much all tweets are user generated.. "via twitter" doesn't really add much info as long as twitter is mentioned.

    • the meeting was only a secret before he showed up. After that well, there he is. This is hardly a leak OR a secret, more like "breaking news".

      It would be a leak/secret if it came up before he landed, granted.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Why? why do you love to hate twitter? it makes no damn sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just because someone used Twiiter to post something, doesn't make Twitter responsible for that post. Geez...how stupid to say that Twiiter leaked it.

    • Just because someone used Twiiter to post something, doesn't make Twitter responsible for that post. Geez...how stupid to say that Twiiter leaked it.

      I'm sorry Mr. AC. This is /. and the title clearly states that Twitter is the culprit in this case. And don't start in on what the summary or TFA states. On /. we only need to read the title, we're all too smart for summaries and such.

      • by godrik (1287354)

        Actually provided the COWA (Cover Obama's Whereabout Act) that was secretly acknowledged by all the countries of the world and some extraterrestrial lifeform, it is the responsability of Twiter to make sure no secret information are leaked.
        The decision of not-a-court-they-are-for-the-others includes a 3 day-2night stay in a Guantanamo Bay hotel for debriefing.

    • by boaworm (180781)

      Isn't this just grammar?

      The company is called Twitter, so if the company would have released the info, the statement would have been "Twitter leaked Obamas visit..."

      But, a single message posted on twitter is also referred to as a twitter, or tweet.

      So the headline could likewise mean "A Twitter leaked Obamas visit..."

      • I've never heard messages on Twitter called "twitters", they are called "tweets". Either way, if the entire meaning of a sentence is changed then it can't be considered "just" a grammar error. That would only apply if the intended meaning was obvious despite the mistake.

  • Not sure what Twitter has to do with it. Presumably TOLOnews has a Web site they could have leaked the news on if they hadn't used Twitter?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can no longer have things public in one part of the world and secret in another. Whether it's making different (politically convenient) statements at home and abroad, or opsec for something like this -- it doesn't work. You gotta keep it secret everywhere, or count on it being public everywhere. Maybe you'll get lucky and it won't come out, but you can't count on that anymore.

    That said -- I'm not sure it was a "leak" in any opsec sense, or at least not the twitter part. If the local press were talking a

    • Air Force One has to be the most uniquely recognizable aircraft on the planet. It's kind of hard to keep quiet when it flies into someplace, unless they flew in on a nondescript plane.

      • by isorox (205688)

        Air Force One has to be the most uniquely recognizable aircraft on the planet. It's kind of hard to keep quiet when it flies into someplace, unless they flew in on a nondescript plane.

        They have more than 1 plane that looks like airforce 1. Get half a dozen of them, and fly one to Singapore, one to South Africa, one to Baghdad, one to Rio, one to Tokyo, and one to Kabul.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:30PM (#39871005)

    Substitute another (imagine "Telephone leaked Obama's Visit to Afghanistan") to see how truly silly your headline is.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Leak nonexistent trips of Obama and other brass on a semi-regular basis, until the enemy tires of responding to cries of wolf.

  • Memes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday May 02, 2012 @02:36PM (#39871085)

    More like TROLOLOLONews, amirite?

    (crickets)

    Ah, the hell with ya.

    Anyway, it wasn't leaked until he was on the ground in Kabul? Is that so bad?

  • Is there something so special about going to Afganistan that required a fabricated story about Obama being here? Why would the government do this? I would really like to know.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ARPA ultimately responsible for threatening POTUS security - now, that's a headline!

  • What this means is info on a presidents trips will be locked down even further. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing.
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      What this means is info on a presidents trips will be locked down even further. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

      Did you know about Presidential trips, including flight plans, before any sort of lockdown?

      Will you know about Presidential trips, including flight plans, after any sort of lockdown?

      If the answer is the same for both of these questions, then why exactly do you care if it's a good or bad thing.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Because some people can care about more things then just themselves.

        Not you, obviously.

        • by geekmux (1040042)

          Because some people can care about more things then just themselves.

          Not you, obviously.

          Wrong.

          Concerning yourself about things well beyond any of your control usually manifests itself into something called "stress". I prefer to minimize that in my life, and choose battles worthy of fighting.

          Not you, obviously.

          Have fun with that.

  • The first tweet to let the virtual cat out of the bag...

    When is the physical cat ever let out of the bag?

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Well if you don't ever let the physical cat out of the bag, then you'll just end up with a bag with a dead cat in it. And that's no fun for anyone.

  • Was this a controlled leak? The entire article that was linked paints such a negative view on Twitter. The White House, in conjunction with the DoD, makes such a charade out of the "journalists" travelling with him, fake itineraries, and outright denial he's actually in Afghanistan.
  • Leaks about Presidential itineraries are not really big news. Thanks for keeping us losers abreast. Even adding in the Twitter reference this is really hardly worth our time.

  • Twitter doesn't leak anything, it just delivers messages.

    Also worth noting - The mailman doesn't write the letters you get, and you ISP doesn't compose all those emails you get.

    Also, it' not much of a leak he's going there it it's a tweet that he is already there.

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