Special Operations Command Blames Hacker for Tweet About Islamic State, Afghanistan

Afghanistan U.S. soldiers
U.S. soldiers overlook the eastern region of Afghanistan during Operation Sentinel Freedom from a UH-60 BlackHawk on Nov. 30, 2019. (Spc. Jeffery Harris/U.S. Army Reserve)

U.S. Special Operations Command Central says a hacker was responsible for a "misleading message" posted to its Twitter account over the weekend.

The now-deleted tweet contained only the words "Afghanistan" and "Islamic State" in quotation marks, according to screenshots shared on the social media platform.

"In the past 12 hours someone hacked our unit's official account and tweeted a misleading message," the Tampa, Fla.-based command tweeted on Saturday evening. "We apologize for any confusion or insensitive content."

Special Operations Command Central is charged with planning special operations throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of South Asia.

The command, which has posted only eight tweets this year, did not immediately respond to telephone messages and emailed questions about the tweet.

Some Twitter commenters were, however, skeptical that the account had been hacked and a few took the opportunity to poke fun at the command.

One posted a screenshot of the unit's Twitter profile that features the motto "Molon Labe," which translates as "come and take" and noted, "I guess someone did."

Last month, U.S. Strategic Command provided fodder for conspiracy theorists after its official Twitter account posted an unusual sequence of characters: ";l;;gmlxzssaw."

The message received more than 12,000 likes, 9,000 retweets and hundreds of comments less than an hour after it was posted.

Strategic Command is responsible for U.S. nuclear forces that can deliver nuclear arms from land- and sea-based missiles and from aircraft.

The command later revealed, in response to a freelance journalist's Freedom of Information Act request, that the tweet was the work of a Twitter manager's young child playing with an unattended keyboard.

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