Carter: Troop data in online kill list was not stolen
Washington — The names, photos and addresses of 100 U.S. military members posted online by a group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division were not stolen from confidential government files, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday.
During a news conference at Camp David, Maryland, Carter was asked about the Internet listing over the weekend in which the purported hackers urged that the 100 individuals be murdered by sympathizers inside the U.S.
“The information that was posted by ISIL was information taken from social websites and publicly available,” Carter said. “It wasn’t stolen from any (Defense Department) websites or any confidential databases.”
He said the Pentagon, nonetheless, takes this event seriously. Other officials have said it is being investigated by the FBI.
“At the same time, this is the kind of social media messaging of a vile sort that ISIL specializes in” and is one reason the U.S. is determined to defeat the group, he added, using a common acronym for the Islamic State group that has captured large portions of territory in Iraq and Syria and beheaded a number of Americans.
Carter was asked about the matter during a news conference following a day of meetings about the future of Afghanistan. He and Secretary of State John Kerry met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah.
Earlier Monday, the Pentagon said it is notifying the 100 military members that their names and addresses were posted on the Internet.
A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, said service members have been reminded to heed normal security precautions, including password protection, in using social media.
Another defense official said there is no indication yet of a specific security threat to any of the 100 individuals. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss on the record a matter under investigation.
Warren said that at least one of the individuals on the list is no longer in the military.
Warren said it’s not clear whether the group that posted the information is actually related to the Islamic State group whose fighters, buildings and military positions in Iraq and Syria have been bombed by U.S. and coalition aircraft.