Man Live-Tweets Osama Raid Unsuspectingly; Loses Privacy

(Original story at Time here.)

Now do you see why online privacy is so hard to achieve?

Man Live-Tweets U.S. Raid on Osama Bin Laden Without Knowing It

By: HILLARY BRENHOUSE (May 2nd, 2011)

Sohaib Athar, a resident of Abbottabad, Pakistan, spent Sunday’s wee hours tweeting about helicopters circling overhead and a mysterious blast. Little did he imagine that he was recording America’s attack on the world’s most wanted terrorist.

On his Twitter page, Sohaib Athar (@ReallyVirtual) describes himself as “an IT consultant taking a break from the rat-race by hiding in the mountains with his laptops.” But this weekend, he found himself at the center of the action. At about 1am local time on Sunday, Athar tweeted about a “helicopter hovering above Abbottabad (a rare event),” later joking that he might have to make use of his “giant swatter.”

As U.S. operatives captured and killed the long-fugitive leader of al-Qaeda in a short-lived firefight, Athar wrote of a “window-shaking bang” and the power outages that followed. “Funny,” he tweets, “moving to Abbottabad was supposed to be part of the ‘being safe’ strategy.” He would go on to detail the crash of one helicopter engaged in the raid, speculating that it might be a drone or a UFO and relaying reports that it was shot down “near the Bilal Town area.” In actuality, the U.S. military aircraft went down due to a mechanical failure.

Later, our unsuspecting witness catches wind of the news that all the noise wasn’t for nothing. “Uh oh, now I’m the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it,” he finally recognizes. “And here come the mails from the mainstream media… *sigh*.” So much for achieving anonymity in the mountains.

See the full timeline at http://twitter.com/#!/ReallyVirtual.

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Author: Nicholas

Experienced Mortgage Banker at Colorado State Bank and Trust. Effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese. Expert on real estate market in the Front Range.

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