U.S. Army Col. Sonny Legett, the spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) issued a warning on Tuesday against a trend of numerous Twitter accounts pretending to be USFOR-A commander Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller.
Leggett tweeted, “PSA: Gen Miller does NOT use public accounts on social media. Scammers are using his likeness & photos. We are working to report fake profiles. If you’re contacted by someone claiming to be Gen Austin (Scott) Miller do not respond- report it to us & block.”
Leggett’s own account serves as an official source of information for USFOR-A activity and has a Twitter-verified blue check.
Miller has served as the USFOR-A commander since 2018.
Miller does have an actual, Twitter-verified account of his own, @Commander_RS, which retweeted Leggett’s PSA tweet, though it is mostly inactive. Miller’s last tweet was from August 2018. The account also retweeted another tweet in August 2018, but has shown no other activity until retweeting Leggett’s tweet on Tuesday.
Some Twitter users responded to Leggett’s PSA and shared their own experiences of being contacted by accounts pretending to be Miller. One Twitter user noted Miller goes by Scott, rather than Austin.
“I have been approached 3 times by SCAMMERS and reported all. I know he goes by Scott not Austin,” the Twitter user said. “There are others are using Austin. Please check on my my reply.”
It is unclear why Twitter users are propping up the fake accounts for Miller. One fake account, @AustinS45157801 has retweeted tweets from President Joe Biden and the White House, as well as a tweet from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). USFOR-A falls under the U.S. Central Command’s (CENTCOM‘s) responsibility.
Another fake account for Miller, @WellsMill, recently tweeted, “Lovely” with a grainy photo of former President Donald Trump and his son Eric Trump.
Another fake account, @AustinS58176228, has no tweets but does have a Twitter bio that reads, “United states Army general who currently serves as the commander of NATO’s Resolute support mission and united state forces Afghanistan.”
Another fake account, @AustinS99253754, has no Tweets and only the bio “loving caring,God fearing.”
U.S. troops have been gradually withdrawing from Afghanistan over the last year, after the Trump administration reached a peace agreement with the Taliban, signed at the end of February 2020. Under the Trump-era agreement, the U.S. planned to withdraw all troops from the country within 14 months, setting a May 2021 deadline to meet that commitment.
President Joe Biden is currently considering the U.S. force posture in Afghanistan. Biden’s Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said there would be a “thoughtful and deliberate” review of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, but said more progress is needed on intra-Afghan peace talks. “All of us are mindful of the time that’s available, but we’re really focused on making sure the negotiation process takes place as it should.”