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Twittering US politician endangers lives in Baghdad

Antony Savvas

A high ranking member of the US House Intelligence Committee used the Twitter mobile blogging service to reveal his "secret" congressional visit to Iraq.

>> See photos: Who's number one in our Power Twitter Top Ten?

Representative Peter Hoekstra tweeted his arrival in Baghdad via his Blackberry with the post: "Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I've had bb [BlackBerry] service in Iraq. 11th trip here."

Hoekstra's trip was supposed to have been kept secret. US media outlets, such as the Congressional Quarterly, that knew of the trip had agreed to keep information under wraps until the party left Iraq.

Hoekstra had announced the trip in advance though via his Twitter page, and continued to post details about the party's itinerary every few hours, until the morning of Friday 6 February.

His last post read: "Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace. Headed to new US embassy. Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here [sic]."

It not known whether Iraqi insurgents are big fans of Twitter, but if any of them are, they would no doubt be interested in the progress of a US House Intelligence Committee.

"This is a serious security blunder by the US government. The Republican congressman is not only putting himself at risk with his careless Twittering, but also the people tasked with protecting him," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos.

"Although these sites are evolving into great networking tools, security and common sense is crucial: even more so when you are a high-ranking government official."


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