San Diego-area military families are taking action because of an alleged threat from ISIS to seek out and kill U.S. service members here at home.
“There are bad guys out there that are trying to put together pieces of the puzzle and your job is to not give them as many pieces,” said Navy wife Kate Kotschwar.
The Army Threat Integration Center (ARTIC) is tasked with alerting Army commands around the world of criminal and terrorist threats.
In an alert posted at the end of September, ARTIC reported that ISIS has called on lone offenders in the U.S. to use the phone book yellow pages and social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to find addresses of service members and slaughter them.
In San Diego, the Armed Services YMCA said military families are taking the ISIS threat seriously. Some of them have expressed fear in counseling sessions. Others have even deleted their social media accounts.
Kotschwar said she limits what she posts on social media for the safety of her family. One thing she avoids, she said, is putting military-related bumper stickers on her car so as not to draw unwanted attention.
Her experience as a Navy family ombudsman taught her these precautions are ones military families have been taking long before ISIS.
The ARTIC special assessment urged service members not to post personal or work contact information on social media or reveal government or military affiliation.
It also suggests family members of military personnel not allow any applications access to their locations.
Other precautions suggested by ARTIC include:
- Think before you post. Always assume everyone in the world will be able to see what you are posting, or tweeting, even if the site limits your posts to your friends and family.
- Limit who can view your social media sites; but do not trust these settings as absolute
- Avoid posting your home or work address and phone numbers; and any government or military affiliation
- Avoid providing detailed accounts of your day (e.g., when you leave for or return from work)
- Never allow applications to geolocate your location
- Always lock doors, windows and garages
- Make sure home entrances are well-lighted, and minimize bushes where intruders can hide before their
- Use the peephole before opening the door to anyone
- Don't use the chain latch to open the door part-way
- Don't open the door to solicitors or strangers
- Install solid-core doors, heavy-duty locks and window security systems
- Establish a safehaven
- Hold a family meeting to work out home security plans