U.S. spy agency joins Facebook, Twitter

WASHINGTON Fri Jun 6, 2014 4:23pm EDT

The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia, August 14, 2008. REUTERS/Larry Downing

The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in McLean, Virginia, August 14, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA, which has long trolled social media to try to uncover global trends and track evil-doers, officially joined Twitter and Facebook on Friday.

The spy agency cast the move as an effort to better get out its message and engage directly with the public, but its first Twitter message, sent out shortly before 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), did not indicate there would be major revelations.

It said simply: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet."

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.

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.

(Reporting by Warren Strobel. Editing by David Storey and Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (3)
JoeSchmoe123 wrote:
It’s a public relations stroke of brilliance! In fact they could make cash on the side by people like me who would pay them to send Friend requests to certain individuals, groups, lending institutions etc ;-D

Jun 06, 2014 4:48pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Mainspring44 wrote:
CIA thereby forces us all to decide without a shred of foreknowledge whether to befriend CIA as a safeguard against its snoopers suspecting any of us of NOT liking it, or avoiding any acknowledgement on Facebook/Twitter lest it apply increased scrutiny beyond its present cursory glances at everyone via NSA.

There you have it, CIA. My IP address is yours, with a little help from America’s telecom megaplex company.

Jun 08, 2014 2:03am EDT  --  Report as abuse
paintcan wrote:
-It said simply: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.”-

That’s the CIA attempting a joke, isn’t it?

That’s cute – just the friendly secret police on the neighborhood beat?

They could add: ” we can see out but you can’t see in”.

Surveillance with a smiley face!

Jun 08, 2014 8:26am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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