2 Dinners and… a Lack of OPSEC!
In the last week, my family and I have gone out twice for dinner.
In both of our adventures, we were seated next to tables that consisted of 2 or 3 women with 2 or 3 kids apiece. Needless to say it was a little loud and rowdy at times. I have 3 kids myself and it never ceases to amaze me how hard it is to gain control in public settings. But I will say that I always walk away from these situations feeling a little better about my children’s behavior in public settings.
Ok, now to switch to the real topic. This post is not about how to gain control of your children. It is about the conversations these women were having in VERY public places!
We happened to be seated within earshot of both tables, and because none of these ladies apparently ever learned how to use a six inch voice, I could now give you the complete schedule, port calls, gossip, mail drop, and probably half the crews names for 2 ships that are currently deployed. They spoke openly (and LOUDLY) about how often they get emails, where the ship was and where it was going. They spewed gossip about fellow wives and crewmembers.
One lady even laughed as she told how her husband (who is in control of screening email onboard) forwards her emails that are sent to the crew. She obviously has no idea this is not a laughing matter and that her husband could be severely punished for doing this.
We are sitting there trying to enjoy our dinner the second night when my husband looks at me and says, “Seriously? Again?” I am assuming he can see me getting extremely irritated by the conversation at the next table. Not only do these ladies have no idea how to talk quietly, they have obviously never heard of OPSEC, do not understand it or just do not care!
On a side note they also had no regard for their own personal security, I can tell you I know enough about almost every one of them to show up at their house, work, their kid’s schools and extra curricular activities. I also now know when they will and will not be home, and that their spouse is deployed. Luckily for them I have no time or desire to do so. However, someone else might.
The most humorous thing is at one point they actually discussed OPSEC and how one of their fellow wives had posted something on Facebook that shouldn’t have been there. After they repeated amongst each other exactly what she had posted they discussed how dumb she was. HELLO!?!? Anyone else see the irony here?
The point here is that you may think no one is listening or that no one wants the information you are speaking about, but I can promise you someone out there would love to have the information I got just from going out to dinner. Someone is always listening, whether they want to be or not. Some people are trained to hear keywords that force them to eavesdrop on a conversation. Not all of these people are terrorists; some of these people have been trained by our own military to report these things to the appropriate authorities.
The most important thing to remember: even though you may feel the information you have is an entitlement it is not, it is a privilege! Be aware of the situation in which you are discussing sensitive information, because you never know who is listening.