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Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 08/01/2012

CIA on Twitter? The agency spies a fake account


(Larry Downing - Reuters)
By design, the CIA isn’t necessarily the most ... transparent of government agencies. So it’s difficult to imagine the home of spooks and spies would take to Twitter, the epicenter of oversharing.

Still, it seemed that some people were duped by a fake Twitter account that purported to be the official voice of Langley. The user @US_CIA employed the agency's official seal and at first tweeted messages that seemed straightforward enough to have come out of CIA public affairs. Adding to the ruse, the spoof tweeter had a good command of intelligence issues and jargon. Still, something about the tweets seemed slightly askew, like the addition of the line, “If you can’t beat them, join them” tacked onto an otherwise mundane hiring notice.

Then the tweets grew increasingly wacky and it became clear that the folks behind it weren’t genuine g-men.

“The Agency is an equal opportunity employer. Here at the CIA we respect all religions, not just the Church of Latter Day Saints,” read one recent tweet.

Say what? Then this: “Dear Ayatollah @khamenei_ir, please consider tweeting in English. Our sole Arabic speaking NED analyst is out on vacation this week. Thanks!”

Yikes. Cue international crisis.

After our colleague Greg Miller asked around about the mysterious Twitter account, it seems the CIA contacted Twitter to have it shut down.

And alas, don’t expect to get pithy missives from our real-life cloak-and-dagger friends anytime soon.

“I hate to break it to our mass of potential Twitter followers — but the CIA is still not on Twitter,” spokesman Preston Golson tells us. “We prefer to keep our daily musings to ourselves. Perhaps someday you’ll be able to read official Tweets from Langley, but until then, people can do the old-fashioned thing and check out our Web page.”

To paraphrase an old spy joke, if they tweeted you, they’d have to kill you.

By  |  11:14 AM ET, 08/01/2012

 
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