The spy who poked me: CIA launches on social media with covert joke

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The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has launched a Facebook and Twitter account, revealing a sense of humour that has caused social media buzz… but not everyone has seen the funny side."We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet," quipped the agency in its first post on Twitter. The Twitter account attracted tens of thousands of followers within hours of launching on Friday. On Twitter the secretive agency was following only 25 other accounts - all US government agencies.Through its own Twitter account, the New York Review of Books attacked the surveillance agency's controversial interrogation techniques.

The CIA, which already has Flickr and YouTube accounts, also joined Facebook on Friday. The agency, based in Langley, Virginia, promised to share reflections on intelligence history and other information on the new accounts.

The CIA's Twitter bio says it accomplishes what others cannot accomplish and goes where others cannot go.

The agency's director John Brennan said in a statement the social media outreach was part of its effort to directly engage with the public.

"We have important insights to share," he said, "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."

The agency managed to secure its @CIA Twitter handle after filing a complaint with Twitter about someone who was impersonating the agency.

On both of its Twitter and Facebook profiles, the CIA's tag line reads: "We are the Nation's first line of defence. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go."

Controversial interrogation techniques

Through its own Twitter account, the New York Review of Books attacked the surveillance agency's controversial interrogation techniques.

The literary journal tweeted a link to a blogpost written by David Cole in March, amid Senate intelligence committee chair Diane Feinstein’s public falling out with the CIA over the “internal Panetta review”.

In the blogpost, Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, concludes: “The CIA’s desperate efforts to hide the details of what the world already knows in general outline – that it subjected human beings to brutal treatment to which no human being should ever be subjected – are only the latest evidence of the poisonous consequences of a program called ‘enhanced interrogation’.”

View the new Facebook account here

View the CIA launch statement here

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