After joining social media site Twitter, the CIA, one of the most secretive organizations in the world, became a little more public on Friday.
The spy agency’s debut tweet revealed a cryptic sense of humour. It simply read: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
By Phinias Shonayi
The lack of content did not dampen interest: in less than 90 minutes, the CIA account had nearly 84,000 followers, and that number was climbing fast. Theaccount gained more than 160,000 followers in the first few hours!!
Since a number of fake CIA twitter accounts have sprung up over the years, some caution was obviously in order.
The agencyquickly confirmed in a news release that it had, in fact, established a presence on both Twitter and Facebook.
Its Twitter page described the CIA as “Accomplishing what others cannot accomplish and going where others cannot go”.
It quickly followed 25 other accounts, including Homeland Security and NASA, prompting jokes about how the spy agency actually follows far more people around the world.
“The CIA has followed people for years,” tweeted Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to the US. “Now tweeple (sic) have a chance to follow @CIA.”
Some weren’t sure it was a good day for social media.
“People say ‘Facebook got lame once your grandmother joined’, don’t know what to think about @CIA joining Twitter,” tweeted electronic privacy activist Parker Higgins (@xor).
The Central Intelligence Agency has long had a public website, and maintains official accounts on YouTube and Flickr, the photo-sharing site.
“By expanding to these platforms (Facebook and Twitter), 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 in a statement.
Among the items to be posted are artifacts from the CIA’s (non-public) museum, and updates to its “World Factbook,” a compendium of world leaders, maps and similar information.
Critics say the Obama administration is more secretive than its predecessors. It has cracked down on once-normal interactions between reporters and intelligence officials.
In recent directives, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has banned intelligence officials from speaking to reporters without permission, even about unclassified information, and also from citing news articles based on unauthorized disclosures.
The CIA’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/central.intelligence.agency. Its Twitter “handle” is @CIA
On a separate story… From our April 23, 2012 News files, the cia.gov site was unavailable around 3.50pm ET, allegedly due to a Denial of Service(DDS)-attack from hackers affiliated with the group UGNazi.
The site block was initially claimed by Anonymous after the group tweeted: “CIA TANGO DOWN”, but later it admitted fellow hacktivists UGNazi had instead brought down the site.
By 6pm (2hrs later) cia.gov was back up and running.
The CIA did not confirm the attack but said they were “looking into these reports”.
Hacktivists also reportedly attacked the website for the United Nations.