The CIA has come in from the cold, joining Twitter and Facebook, and the first tweet from the Agency’s account is a kitschy gem that would make any spook proud.
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014
A joking reference to the CIA’s history, the phrase used in the tweet is called a “glomar response,” which arose in the mid-1970s as reporters worked to uncover the Glomar Explorer project, in which the CIA retrieved a sunken Russian nuclear submarine. The CIA notoriously said it would “neither confirm nor deny” the project at the time, in an effort to quash the story. The tweet inspired others to get in on the joke, like the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency:
Welcome to Twitter! Can’t wait to work with you on [REDACTED] :-) RT @CIA: We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— NGA (@NGA_GEOINT) June 6, 2014
In a press release, the CIA said that it planned to share “the latest news, statements, and career information from CIA,” as well as “artifacts and other information from the CIA’s Museum – the best museum most people never get to see.” The account, @CIA, racked up over 60,000 followers in its first hour of existence, according to Time. The Agency’s first tweet, meanwhile, was retweeted more than 143,000 times as of this writing, and the number of followers had surpassed 205,000. The CIA’s new Facebook and Twitter accounts join already existing platforms for the Agency on Flickr and YouTube.
CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement that the Agency’s new social media accounts would allow the CIA to “more directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA’s mission, history, and other developments,” while allowing the Agency to be more transparent:
“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.”
Not everyone was impressed with the CIA’s first tweet, however. ABC News reports that Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program, voiced his displeasure in a statement:
“The CIA’s first Tweet would be funny if it weren’t for the agency’s use of torture and extrajudicial executions. They should put as least as much effort into following the law as they do into social media. The full truth about the CIA torture and drone strikes should be made public immediately and those responsible for crimes held accountable.”
As The Inquisir has reported, the controversy over drone strikes is ongoing. Late last year, a strike in Yemen killed 14 and injured at least 22, none of whom were militants. A strike in April also caused civilian casualties.
“We are the Nation’s first line of defense,” the CIA’s Twitter bio begins. “We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.”
[Image via CIA.gov]