ISIS 'kill list' features Brevard military personnel
Authorities are urging military families to use caution on social media after a group claiming to have ties with the Islamic State group put the name of at least one Brevard service member on a "kill list."
The list, which was posted online and reported over the weekend, includes the identities of 100 pilots, airmen, sailors and commanders involved in the U.S.-led airstrikes against the group in Iraq and Syria, a Pentagon official told USA TODAY on Monday. Addresses and in some cases, photographs were also posted.
It was not immediately known why the service member from Merritt Island was selected by the group or how personal information, including an address, was obtained.
Officials are concerned.
"The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is coordinating with appropriate federal and local authorities on this matter. We have taken the appropriate steps to make sure that everyone impacted has been notified," the 920th Rescue Wing said in a statement issued to FLORIDA TODAY.
"As it relates to personal social media accounts, we are encouraging personnel to remove personal details such as physical addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. As always, vigilance and force protection considerations remain a priority for commanders and their personnel worldwide," the statement read.
Military authorities are working directly with local police departments in Brevard along with the FBI to monitor the threatening posts, which have since been removed from several sites.
"I can tell you that the FBI is working with various military law enforcement agencies on this matter," David Couvertier, spokesman for the Tampa Division of the FBI, told FLORIDA TODAY.
Brevard County is home to a large community of military retirees and military groups, including the 920th Rescue Wing. It's the only Air Force Reserve combat-search-and-rescue unit with missions in Africa and southwest Asia where efforts to fight terrorism are ongoing.
"We take all threats to U.S. military members seriously and will continue to work in concert with our federal, state, and local partners to address these online posts," Couvertier said.
Palm Bay Police Department and other agencies are also coordinating efforts but are not elaborating on methods to keep potential targets safe.
"Palm Bay is not on the list of addresses targeted, however we are aware of the information and are working in conjunction with the Sheriff's Office and the FBI to monitor potential threats and make sure we are prepared," said Yvonne Martinez, spokeswoman for the Palm Bay Police Department.
The city is the location of the U.S. Air Force Eastern Test Range.
Troops on the list are being notified nationwide, Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday. Some of the names on the list are no longer in the military.
The group that posted the information identified itself as the Islamic State Hacking Division. Its list features the photographs of service members along with their names, rank and home addresses. That information, Warren said, was publicly available and did not come from a data breach.
In many cases, the troops' identities are on military web sites and social media pages.
Contact Gallop at 321-242-3642, email@example.com or on Twitter at@JDGallop
USA TODAY contributed to this report