An interesting blip popped up on the social media radar this week, when the Central Intelligence Agency took the plunge and joined Twitter. (@CIA). There was no huge fanfare or media uproar beyond a few “news lite” pieces, but the Twitterverse certainly noticed. In a matter of hours the account had passed a quarter million followers. Of course, I’m not sure how much entertainment we can expect from Spook Central, given that they have thus far managed only two tweets.
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014
— CIA (@CIA) June 7, 2014
There were plenty of jokes going around as soon as they broke virtual radio silence, as well as perhaps only partially serious jibes about having the spies among us. (Including mine.)
@CIA You realize nearly everyone just quit Twitter, right…?
— Jazz Shaw (@JazzShaw) June 7, 2014
Concerns about the CIA suddenly “finding” Twitter and listening in on us are clearly unwarranted. (And for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure that the agency has had files on every writer at Hot Air for at least the last 66 months.) While they don’t announce such things, I’m sure that intelligence agencies have been gathering information and monitoring Twitter (as well as Facebook, Pinterest and all the rest) pretty much since they went online. I imagine that if you wanted to do it, you’d set up a number of relatively anonymous accounts from generic e-mail addresses and not even bother following people of interest. Twitter allows you to set up searches for key words, so you’d just begin monitoring for every instance of potentially threatening phrases and checking them out.
So why join the social media herd now? Well, the CIA had an explanation for that.
“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,” said CIA Director John Brennan in a statement. “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.”
So much for that. The only serious question I have regarding this story is how did they manage to get that handle? Surely somebody would have taken it by now, if only the Culinary Institute of America. Did they have to kick somebody off?
Anyway, here are some other agencies who are already on Twitter that you might not have known about.
You may as well keep an eye on them. You know they’re keeping an eye on you.