Social networking service Twitter could be used by terrorists as a tool in planning attacks, the US military claims.

In a report by the US Army's 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, which has been posted on the Federation of American Scientists, Tweets (Twitter messages) have been identified as way of communication for terrorists regarding future attacks. One chapter of the report, entitled 'Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter' highlights the fact that the first reports of the Los Angeles earthquake in July appeared on the social networking site rather than through traditional news services.

"Terrorists could theoretically use Twitter social networking in the US as an operational tool," the report says.

It is also feared that Tweets from troops stationed overseas could be used by terrorists as information for attacks.

The report also claims that al-Qaeda forums have discussed the use of satellite navigation and mapping tools during attacks, with one post highlighting the use of mobile phone navigation tools in 'Marksmanship, Border Crossings and in Concealment of Supplies'.