BY: Caitlin Nolan
For as long as there have been politicians in America, there has been the goal of ‘relating to the common people.’ To do so, those same politicians will attempt to reach out, speak to those who are affected by their decisions, and keep the people in touch with recent events. There comes a point, however, where that contact can prove dangerous.
According to an article on Politco.com, many lawmakers are posting on Twitter, an online blogging tool that allows these politicians to “stay connected to their constituents on an up-to-the-second basis.”
Many are using this blogging tool at inopportune times such as during committee meetings and on the Senate floor. No
one, however, can compare to that of Pete Hoekstra, Representative of Michigan to the 2nd Congressional District of Michigan. While others may be creating conflict by updating their status in America, Hoekstra posted to his twitter whilst in Iraq, updating all who has access to the site of his actions and plans in real time.
“All of this information gives the enemy possible COAs (courses of action) which makes ambushes a lot easier, especially if the enemy knows who they’re traveling with, ” said Cassandra Gilday, a cadet in the ROTC and student at Marist College. “My boyfriend who is deployed can’t even tell me where he is, because that’s telling the enemy where he is.”
Gilday went on to state that Hoekstra had included vital information within his blogs that go into a mission.
The repercussions of such an action are unknown at the moment, but the backlash of such an act may affect those who wish to report in similar wartime situations.
“Will this affect the Press- oh absolutely,” said Gerry McNulty, former Editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal and Director of the Communication Internship Program at Marist College. “There’s a danger you have to understand in any military situation. He is not literally breaking any laws. Is he endangering himself and others? I think yes!”
Others reacted just as strongly, expressing concern for the carelessness of a man in power.
“He has to have more pressing things to be doing,” said Ben Condon, a junior at Marist College. “He was put into office for a reason.”
Many think that there is an understanding between the press and military. Such an act that could possibly have ended in a very bad situation may be grounds for a change in that relationship.
“There is a lot of preparation when someone of authority comes here (to Marist College) and this is not a combat zone!” McNulty said. “Many people take actions that later have ramifications for others. Not only journalists, but those who give out food to needy people follow the same procedures (of silence) for safety of all in a combat zone.”
This may be a hard situation to gage in terms of what actions should follow, but it must be taken into account that technically this situation is not illegal.
“Jeopardizing things is dangerous behavior,” McNulty said. “However, he has every right to say what he said.”
While that may be true, others need not take into account the fact that the First Amendment is important when it comes to war.
“This is completely ridiculous,” said Danny Jagoda, a sophomore at Marist College said. “You’re giving away the place of military. To an extent I consider this a security breech. Twitter is not meant for that. There is no reason (for this.)”
The official verdict is still out and may never actually come to be. No course of action has been mentioned. However, the disappointment of the American people still resonates.
“That was really stupid,” said Emily Gravel, a junior at Marist College. “He should know better.”