July 30th, 2009
07:09 PM ET
14 years ago

Do quick tweets sink ships?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/30/art.kirktweet.twitter.jpg
caption = " Rep. Mark Kirk's tweets raised questions from the military. "]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican who represents the northern suburbs of Chicago and is running for Senate, also happens to be a Navy Reservist. While on service in the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, he recently 'tweeted,' causing the Military to look into the situation.

The first tweet sent on July 25 read: "On duty @ the Pentagon's National Military Command Center. All is currently (relatively) quiet. Honor 2 be back w/ my fellow Navy colleagues."

The next day he wrote: "Back on duty in the National Military Command Center – lets hope for a calm day for our troops."

Two questions are raised about these tweets. The first is whether or not Kirk revealed his location when he should not have ("Loose lips sink ships") and the second is whether or not his Twitter account goes against military regulations that state military members are not allowed to update or revise any "Web sites created before entry on active duty."

To add to the confusion, military members are not allowed while in uniform to attend political rallies (the military is non-partisan). So what does it mean that Kirk is tweeting while on duty for his own political campaign?

In this new medium of 140 characters, these questions are leaving the military scratching their heads. One Defense official who spoke to CNN seemed almost just as confused as to where the lines are drawn. While the source did not think the congressman revealing his location was a huge deal (in this particular case), the official was less sure of the other questions the incident raised. The source told CNN, "Given who the individual is and how people can perceive things, it is interesting. We are aware of it and we are looking into it."

To make the situation more interesting, according to a statement released by Congressman Kirk's spokesman Eric Elk, "two messages noting his service were posted on Twitter by a staff member. These posts have generally reported on his daily activity, but staff will refrain from future posts while he is on duty."

Filed under: Social Networking • Twitter
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