“The Case Against Vladimir Putin”
Foreign Policy, July 21, 2014
“In laying out the administration’s indictment against Moscow, Obama and key members of his national security team have been pulling from a trove of classified intelligence. Among the most incriminating evidence against the separatists are images taken by U.S. spy satellites showing a plume of smoke rising from the separatist-held area where the missile was fired, officials said. The missile also was detected by the Defense Support Program, a constellation of Air Force reconnaissance satellites that sense the infrared signature of ballistic missile launches and nuclear explosions, Reuters reported. The satellites were used during the 1990-1991 Gulf War to detect Scud missile launches from Iraq and to warn civilians in Israel and Saudi Arabia of incoming strikes. But officials are also building their case against Putin with a mounting pile of evidence posted on social media, including posts by separatist leaders, tweets about the location of missile launchers, and YouTube videos documenting potentially incriminating conversations between the men who may have shot down the jetliner. Washington’s willingness to use Twitter and the Russian equivalent of Facebook to bolster its case against Putin is a signal moment in the history of social media, which is now taking its place alongside classified intelligence as an important source of information for world leaders.”
Quickie Analysis: A very interesting look at the social media evidence linking pro-Russia Ukrainian separatists to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as a case study in how social media is being used to supplement traditional intelligence.