ABDERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Public Affairs officials at 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Something That Begins With “E” Command are scrambling after a slew of IG complaints were made public yesterday accusing leadership of using fake names on Facebook to snoop around their subordinates’ accounts.
Top officers at 20th CBRNE have apparently been using the fake profiles to “friend” subordinates and then join special, often secret or private groups for months. Once inside, they monitor their soldiers’ online activity.
The fake accounts are often made believable by careful manipulation and the clever use of pictures of college-age sluts.
“This is totally beyond the pale,” said Staff Sgt. Rory Pence. “I can't believe the bosses would engage in this behavior.”
Pence says he accepted a friend request from someone claiming to be “Tracy ‘Funbags’ McGee” a few months ago. McGee’s “About” section identifies her as “a dental hygienist who loves to party and is open to possibly coming to visit you if you allow her access to your photos and friend list.”
“I only accepted her because she’s mutual friends with my buddy Mike down in 722,” McGee says. “But now it turns out that it’s Col. Sieber, checking up on me to see if I did anything illegal when I went to Cabo over Spring Break.”
“Thank God I dropped my phone in that pond before I could post any of those pictures,” Pence added.
Other fake accounts include both EOD Group commanders and the Chemical Brigade commander, who spoof their subordinates under the names “Lester Sham,” “Holly Hide,” and “Coxtopher Chris,” respectively.
Soldiers say the leaders even went so far as to join suicide prevention and sexual assault survivor groups that their soldiers belong to.
“Yeah, I was on phone watch last fall and got a call from a guy who was talking about taking his life,” said Sgt. Lisa Poindexter, who belongs to the ‘EOD ASSIST’ suicide prevention group. “He became distraught and hung up, and I posted to the group asking if anybody knew where the guy lived and could somebody go over and physically check on him.”
“Well, it ended up working out,” Poindexter continued, “but the next day at work, the Group Commander took me aside and asked about it.”
“There’s no way she could have known about that,” said Poindexter emphatically, “unless she was spying on us.”
For their part, the 20th CBRNE leadership are unrepentant.
“Of course we’re going to spy on our soldiers,” said the commander, Brig. Gen. William King, “because we care about them. We’re disbanding 13 EOD companies and two of their battalions, necessitating us to kick out several dozen of them.”
“It’s understandable that they’d feel marginalized and stressed, and we want to make sure they don’t do anything rash. After all, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
When it was pointed out that the same could be said of dismantling a sizable portion of the Army’s counter-IED capability at a time when war in the Middle East looks as likely as ever, King invited reporters to submit further questions via Facebook to his Public Affairs officer, Capt. Killian Wing.