CIA gets with the program, becomes virtually the last major U.S. government organization on Twitter, Facebook


The CIA joined Twitter on Friday. Finally. (Photo via cia.gov)

At long last, our national wait is over: the CIA joined Twitter.

One of the nation’s major spy organizations joined the social media game on Friday, announcing its presence with a snarky tweet that will immediately be familiar to national security journalists who have spent years trying to get information from it.

“We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet,” it said, poking fun at its own secretive reputation. Or maybe that was trumpeting it. Take your pick.

The message was retweeted more than 63,000 times in the first hour and change after it was posted at 1:49 p.m. But that certainly doesn’t change the fact that the agency is far behind virtually all of its brethren in the nation’s national security apparatus.

The Army joined Twitter in September 2007, according to its profile page. The Marine Corps joined in November 2007, the Air Force in January 2009, the Navy in July 2009, and the overall Department of Defense in August 2009. Even the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency, fellow intel agencies, joined Twitter in July 2009 and February 2010, respectively.

The CIA said in a news release Friday that it also have launched a Facebook account, expanding beyond the presence it already had on photo-sharing site Flickr and video-sharing YouTube.

“By expanding to these platforms, CIA will be able to more directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA’s mission, history, and other developments,” CIA Director John Brennan said. “We have important insights to share, and we want to make sure that unclassified information about the Agency is more accessible to the American public that we serve, consistent with our national security mission.”

The splashy first tweet certainly got attention, and already has vaulted the agency past many of its contemporaries on Twitter in terms of its reach and number of followers. But it doesn’t explain why it took the agency so long to wade into a popular arena in which it can shape its own narrative.

Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.
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Dan Lamothe · June 6, 2014

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