House Intelligence Committee member reveals secret Iraq trip on Twitter
Jeremy Gantz
Published: Saturday February 7, 2009

Print This  Email This

Forget anonymous leaks -- official Twitter feeds are now a source of government information.

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., helped the increasingly popular micro-blogging outlet reach a new milestone Friday, when he reported on a congressional trip to Iraq on his Twitter feed -- a trip that was allegedly supposed to be a secret.

"Heading to Iraq and Afghanistan weds night.I'll update on twitter and web pg as links are available.I'll ne back in touch mid next week," the House Intelligence Committee member wrote Tuesday.

And then, one day later, the Republican wrote: "Just landed in Baghdad. I believe it may be first time I've had bb service in Iraq. 11 th trip here."

Both of those "tweets," along with others, went against what Hoekstra had been told before leaving Washington D.C.: to keep the trip a secret. Various media outlets, including Congressional Quarterly and the Watertown Daily Times, had agreed not to disclose the trip until the the congressional delegation left Iraq.

But Hoekstra broke the story himself, so the Agence France Press noticed the representative's public-record tweets and reported on the trip.

After averaging 2-3 tweets per day earlier in the week, Hoekstra hasn't posted since Friday afternoon -- thought he later began posting again, after this original article went to press.

But the delegation's trip appeared to be an educational one, according to Hoekstra's last Friday tweet: "Iraq! Issues! lLong term impact on containing Iran.. Need a coherent detainee strategy. Amb Crocker leaving after very successful tenure."

Jamal Ware, a Hoekstra spokesman, said the congressman "was not told he could not post prior to or during the trip. He continued to do so as possible for the remainder of it, contrary to [your original piece]."

Correction: The trip to Iraq was not classified, as had been stated in an original edition of this piece. Hoekstra's spokesman says he was not told to keep the trip secret, as other media organizations have maintained.