Selective Service Reacts to Military Draft Text Alerts
The U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq recently sparked considerable war talk.
Iran knows that a mano a mano conflict with the U.S. would not end well for them. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try to cause chaos in the region.
That could include launching more missiles toward U.S. military bases. And trying to strike at American interests abroad.
If Iran does enough of those things, it’s possible a war could begin. And that has young men and women a tad nervous.
Jail Time Threatened
Perhaps that’s why the fake text alerts that went out recently caused so much concern.
Apparently a number of people across the country received alerts on their cellphones. The alerts stated that they had been selected for a military draft.
Some of the text messages read like this. “We are contacting you in regards to the United States official army draft.”
It also read, “You’ve been marked eligible.” At least one other message threatened jail time if the person did not respond.
‘Immediate Departure to Iran’
One text was even more specific. And a customized version of it went to multiple areas. It read, “United States Army Draft, we tried contacting you through mail several times and have had no response.
“You’ve been marked eligible and must come to the nearest branch in Jacksonville, Florida for immediate departure to Iran.
“Please contact us at the following number and respond to this message immediately. We’re aware that this number is not disconnected. You’ll be fined and sent to jail for minimum 6 years if no reply.”
Some of the texts used the real names of Army recruiting commanders. Others used fictitious names.
Selective Service Website Crashes
Many recipients believed the texts were legitimate. Especially because the Pentagon had announced it was deploying thousands of additional troops to the Middle East.
As a result, the flood of traffic on the U.S. Selective Service website was so high that the site shut down.
But the U.S. Army responded quickly to this situation. A statement read that “fraudulent texts have circulated through the country this week.” They made it clear that the text messages were false and did not come from the U.S. Army.
“The decision to enact a draft is not made at or by U.S. Army Recruiting Command,” a statement read.
“The Selective Service System, a separate agency outside of the Department of Defense, is the organization that manages registration for the Selective Service.”
Facebook Page Quashes Rumors
The Selective Service System’s official Facebook page has also been used to discredit the information contained in the texts.
“There have been reports that text messages are being sent claiming that a draft has begun or is imminent,” the Facebook page says.
“Please be advised that these text messages are not being sent by the Selective Service System or any other Federal entity.
“There is no military draft. The Selective Service System is conducting business as usual. In the event that a national emergency necessitates a draft, Congress and the President would need to pass official legislation to authorize a draft.”
Military Draft Ended in 1973
The last time a military draft was conducted in the U.S. was 1973. The military has been all-volunteer since then.
But even though there has not been a U.S. military draft in 47 years, all men between 18 and 25 years of age are required to register for selective service.
The reasoning for this is pretty clear. If the draft were to be reinstated at some point, the process of drafting could be conducted in a timely manner.
Those who don’t register are generally unable to get federal financial aid for higher education. They can also be charged with a felony. And fined up to $250,000 and/or given a prison sentence of up to five years.
Regardless, if the draft were reinstated, eligible young people would not be contacted via text. But rather by certified mail.
How Many Received These Texts?
Nobody knows how many people received the fraudulent texts. They seem to have been concentrated mostly in Florida and New Jersey.
Lisa Ferguson is media relations chief for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. Here’s what she said.
“We don’t have any way of knowing if some areas are receiving more texts than others. Unless we query all 1,400 recruiting stations and more than 10,000 recruiters.”
Ferguson said they learned of the texts from parents. As well as from recruiters who heard from text recipients.
Cracking Down on Robocallers
These fraudulent texts may bring new attention to an act President Donald Trump recently signed into law.
It’s called the Pallone-Thune TRACED Act. “TRACED” stands for Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence. It allows government regulators to go after robotexters and seek fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
That’s according to Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. He was involved in crafting the legislation.
Telecom carriers will be authorized to trace these fraudulent texts back to their source. The guilty parties could then be sued under state or federal fraud laws.
What Do You Think?
How do you feel about robocallers and robotexters? Is this a “freedom” we should allow in a free country? Or should the people responsible be prosecuted?
I’d love to hear from you about this.