ISIS Threatened Me But They Didn’t Win

A group apparently affiliated with ISIS threatened our managing editor. But they didn't win.

It’s not every day that you can say “Today I got a personalized tweet from someone claiming to be with ISIS.” And that’s probably a good thing.

It happened like this:  The Twitter account of a military spouse who owns a spouse-focused non-profit was hacked by a group apparently affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The hackers then tweeted messages aimed at specific military spouses, including myself.

“Amy Bushatz! You think you’re safe but the IS is already here, #CyberCaliphate got into your PC and smartphone,” is, I’m told, what the tweet said (I did not actually see it before it was deleted, presumably by Twitter).

Not long thereafter I received a friend request from someone named “Gasper CyberCaliphate Sadz.” When I viewed their profile it was clear that they were not the sort of person I wanted to let into my social life. Within a few seconds the profile had been deleted. And yes, it was really creepy. The same photo and images were used in this account as were used during the CENTCOM hack.

Every spouse quoted in this CNN article was singled out in the tweets.

You might be thinking “that’s what you get for being stupid enough to be quoted by name in a CNN article about ISIS and cyber threats.” However, the decision to have my name used in that story wasn’t a hard one. My name is everywhere — here, on Military.com and in other national publications. I am a public person. That ship has sailed.

I’m told the FBI is investigating the situation, and all the proper military officials have been notified by those of us involved. My husband suggested I not let anyone dressed as a terrorist into our house.

I want to face this whole situation with a resolute jaw and a loud “being afraid means the terrorists win.” I’m not the type of person to live in fear or change my life just because some person on the internet wants to scare me. I’ve never done that before and I have no intention of doing it now.

Personal attacks bring up a variety of feelings. On the one hand, I’m super pissed. How dare they threaten me and my friends? Then there’s the maniacal laughter and the semi-inappropriate jokes about not opening the door for anyone in a bomb vest. I’ve got lots of those.

But then, underneath all of that somewhere deep in my core, I am trying to shake off the tiniest bit of what feels an awful lot like fear.

Because being singled out by someone claiming to be with a fairly terrifying terrorist organization? That’s scary. Knowing that, thanks to my job and public profile, my town of residence, spouse’s name and occupation, base, kid’s names and more wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to locate online? More than unnerving.

But I don’t think it’s the fear itself that matters. I think it’s what I choose to do about the fear that is the key. Do I let it change my habits? Do I ignore it completely and hope nothing bad happens?

Do I use it as a cautionary tale to be more vigilant — much like you would react to a story of a home robbery in your neighborhood?

Or do I completely change my life, delete my social media presence and lock down my family because I am afraid?

Being afraid doesn’t mean the terrorists won — it’s the living in fear that gives them the victory. I’m not giving them the victory.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Jessica

    You go, girl!

    • jay.mckay

      that’s for sure don’t let any one try to bully you or threaten u on a computer.there juss a bunch of no good losers and animals that have no care for any human.i hope they find them all and get rid of them all off the face of earth._

  • Jonette Gozzola

    Thank you for your courage and inspiration. If I am killed by animals I die being protected by the proud American military. Rest assured I will not go down without a fight

  • Torie Pendleton

    LOL!Our husbands are always full of great advice, aren’t they?! You go! I will not be scared into a whole and my freedom will not be stolen!

  • Rudy

    Hope you carry a concealed 9mm, or better a 40mm.

  • Joe

    Wish some of our politicians had her courage.

  • Army combat vet

    F ISIS

    • Pappy

      A big 2nd THAT !!

    • steve /combat vet

      I say all of us veterans get together and have isis pay us a visit!!!!! I promise you they wouldn’t like the outcome !!!!

  • marie

    thank you for your courage! both to reporting on truths that the powers that be turn a blind eye to, and having your name exposed to danger.

  • dennis brown

    Great job! This is who Americans are, and we need to get back on track. Hooah!

  • Trish

    As the proud daughter of a US Navy and a US Air Force Vet and the proud mom active duty Air Force and Army I stand with you. Caution may be necessary to protect our loved ones, but fear never. They will never win. I stand proud. Proud to support our US Military and their families.

  • LIAM

    …”WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR, BUT FEAR ITSELF” ~FDR~

  • Ursula

    This is the land of the Free and the home of the Brave. You are a fine example of that. We will continue to live FEARLESSLY!

  • John Sullivan

    I’m a Navy Vet that served with the USMC, here to stand with any other veterans to protect vet families, just say the word.

  • runbot

    Do people really take seriously the stuff that’s posted online? Even the “News” is lies.

  • David Tracey

    I think some if the groups that harass vets might be internally generated. When I was a kid, there was a group called Project Star that tried to funnel Vets into the Mental Health System or Substance Abuse Centers- there worse then jails really. G4 or Interpol did this to 40’s and 50 ‘ sera vets-anyone heard of them? It’s almost impossible to google

  • Maybe these guys are from CPI. They have been around forever and harnessed my dad, mom and even me. My dad gave info
    To The Free Press that no US Soilders actually fired at shot at My Lai-not even Calley or Medina. Ever heard if G4 ? Check my posting on the Allen Park Fire-it’s all really the same mechanism and was started by Truman cover up Dresdan