(BrightPress.org) – The U.S. Army is deploying its Protective Services Battalion (PSB) to detect and investigate mean comments about high-ranking military officials under its protection. The PSB is like the Secret Service equivalent for the military, with a mandate to protect the leadership from serious threats like kidnapping or assassination, but now they’ve also expanded the mission to monitor social media for “negative sentiment” and to protect officers from potential “embarrassment.”
According to an internal 2022 Army document released by The Intercept, PSB is now searching for “direct, indirect, and veiled” threats.
Not only are they targeting the complaints and trolls, but they’ve also even mentioned “positive or negative sentiment” that pertains to their “senior high-risk personnel.” The sentiment “Don’t talk about senior military people at all or the Army might target you” seems a bit ominous.
They’re even looking to discover the physical location of internet trolls or jokesters who ping on their radar. Their suite of tools would allow them to discover anything and everything digital about an account that interests them. From cell phone location data to potentially accessing the user’s webcam, simply scrolling through timelines and publicly available information is the tip of the surveillance state iceberg.
PSB will scan all social media including more private platforms like Telegram and Discord where users tend to feel more secure in private chatrooms. The Intercept didn’t say how they came across the Army document, a publicly available copy was redacted but their report was based on the unredacted version.
The Army claims it will limit its search efforts to radicalization, counterterrorism, and counter-extremism. The report also acknowledges the Army’s use of “misattribution,” meaning they themselves could use fake accounts or other means to obscure their interactions and investigations.
It’s unclear if these initiatives are already underway or if it’s something they’re seeking to implement soon.
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