Last night, The Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin reported that Jofi Joseph, who worked on nuclear nonproliferation at the National Security Council, was fired last week after it was discovered that he was behind the @natsecwonk Twitter account, which had been around for over two years and included some unflattering posts about Obama administration officials and other prominent political figures.
From The Daily Beast:
During his time tweeting under the @natsecwonk name, Joseph openly criticized the policies of his White House bosses and often insulted their intellect and appearance. At different times, he insulted or criticized several top White House and State Department officials, including former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Secretary of State John Kerry, and many many others.
You can read an archive of some of the tweets here.
According to Foreign Policy’s Situation Report, Joseph is facing a DOJ investigation into whether he revealed any confidential or sensitive information on the @natsecwonk account, which Politico reports was “obsessively and angrily followed by officials in the bowels of Foggy Bottom and the West Wing.”
Speaking about Joseph's @natsecwonk account on NBC’s Today Show, Rogin said that “His Twitter feed was a mix of leaking sensitive national security information, criticizing the policies of the administration he worked for and insulting the personalities and appearance of very famous national security officials." The Washington Post reports the following on the sensitivity of some of the material on the @natsecwonk account:
The posts never included classified or highly sensitive information, making a true leak investigation difficult to mount, but they often contained insider details.
While setting up accounts like @natsecwonk is obviously a risky career move (and it would perhaps be better to leak sensitive information to journalists directly rather than on Twitter), I hope that we will see more like it in the future.
The unintentional comedy in Washington D.C. can quickly become stale and depressing. Wouldn’t it have been a refreshing joy to have had a prominent official running a @natsecwonk equivalent in HHS amid the latest and ongoing Obamacare debacle, in the IRS during the latest scandal surrounding the targeting of conservative groups, or in the DOJ amid the Associated Press scandal? I can’t help but think that given the size of the federal government that there must be some untapped Twitter talent out there that could provide some welcome comedy to the tragedy in every federal department and agency.