Hoekstra Defends Iraq Twittering

By Matthew Harwood

Representative Pete Hoekstra, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, is defending his decision to Twitter his whereabouts in Iraq in real time, despite the secretive nature of the trip, reports Fox News.

Politicians traveling into dangerous areas are advised by the House Armed Services Committee and Hoekstra's own Intelligence Committee not to reveal their itineraries, reports The New York Times.

Hoekstra, however, twittered his arrival to Iraq"Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I've had bb service in Iraq. 11th trip here."—as well as his helicopter flight into the Green Zone—"Moved into green zone by helicopter Iraqi flag now over palace.Headed to new US embassy Appears calmer less chaotic than previous here."

Hoekstra said his messages to the popular social networking site were unclassified and that numerous other politicians have communicated to the outside world using Twitter, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

But criticism of Hoekstra's decision has been blistering at times.

One former Republican aide to the House Armed Services told CQ Politics:

“By relaying that information and telegraphing what they were doing, he probably placed people in harm’s way .... It’s just common sense.”

Four House Republicans were with Hoekstra at the time: Eric Cantor of Virginia, Tom Latham of Iowa, Jo Bonner of Alabama and John McHugh of New York, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Liberal bloggers also had fun with Hoekstra's Twittering, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

Because of Hoekstra's Twitter incidents, the Defense Department is reviewing how they communicate operational security best practices to lawmakers in an age of instant communication.



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