DepthomelandsecI have often wondered what gets your email correspondence noticed by the folks at DHS.  Turns out that DHS was recently forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S. The list includes the more obvious choices such as ‘attack’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘dirty bomb’ alongside other words that make me wonder – smart, pork, sick, infection, wave, H1N1 and other pretty basic words in the average lexicon.

This list was released under a freedom of information request and it sheds a bit of light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the Internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The words are included in the department’s 2011 ‘Analyst’s Desktop Binder‘ used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify ‘media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities’.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organizations for comments that ‘reflect adversely’ on the government.

The complete list as reported is included here for your review ( The Words ).  All I know is that I am in deep trouble!  Given my work, I use half of those words on a regular basis!  I must be under constant surveillance!  Ah…now I understand why that guy in the trench coat is always hanging from the tree in front of my house!


The complete report is available online and a the full list of words begins on page 20 of the report.