Although ISIS is known for using social media for recruitment purposes, U.S. Air Force intelligence has been using it to track down Islamic State militants, according to Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command.
“These guys that are working down at Hurlburt (Florida), they’re combing through social media. And they see some moron standing at this command and control capability for Da’Esh, ISIL. These guys go, ‘ah we got an in,’” Carlisle said at a speech in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday.
Twenty-two hours after seeing the post, U.S. warplanes went in for the kill.
“Long story short…three JDAMs take the entire building out,” Carlisle said in the speech to the Air Force Association.
A JDAM is a kit attached to a conventional bomb that converts it into a “smart” weapon, according the U.S. Navy. The kit, made by Boeing and put in the tail of the bombs, uses a global positioning system and internal navigation system to guide the bombs onto targets.
Using GPS coordinates, JDAM bombs have an error rate of less than 40 feet, the Navy says.
Boeing said in 2013 it had produced more than a quarter-million JDAMs for the U.S. and its allies.
JDAM units can placed on 2,000-, 1,000- and 500-pound bombs, which can be carried by a variety of Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. An Air Force B-2 bomber can deploy 80 JDAMs in a single pass, the Navy says.
Why ISIS is winning and how to stop it
Carlisle did not give details of the type of JDAM bomb or aircraft used, but he gushed about the team at Hurlburt Field, home of the Air Force’s 1st Special Operations Wing.
“Incredible work when you think about it,” Carlisle said of the operation. “And it was these incredible airmen out there doing those kind of things,” Carlisle said.
The Islamic group has published approximately 1,700 pictures, videos and other publications all across social media and have gained at least 200,000 readers on Twitter, experts told Congress, according to the Air Force Times.
With more than 1,500 pictures, videos and publications scattered across social media, ISIS has managed to capture the attention of around 3,400 Westerners and at least 200 Americans to join their ranks, said Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Social media has been a central focus for propagandists to recruit, share their experiences and show off their triumphs. However, U.S. intel, specifically airmen, have been avidly searching across social media to track down ISIS whereabouts to actively respond.
ISIS exploits social media to make inroads in U.S.
CNN’s Barbara Starr and Brad Lendon contributed to this report.