Former CIA Officer Tells CNN: @CIA Should Stop Trying to Be Funny


When the CIA officially joined Twitter last month, they got some props for this first, self-referencial tweet:

But one month later, the agency decided to celebrate its “#Twitterversary” by posting joking tweets about the whereabouts of rapper Tupac Shakur and its desire to take “selfies” with Ellen DeGeneres, prompting some fair questions and criticisms from a wide swath of commentators.

Today on CNN, former CIA officer and current national security analyst Bob Baer weighed in on his old employer’s unconventional use of social media. “I’m sort of old school, and I think intelligence agencies should stay out of the news as much as they can,” he said. “This is all supposed to be secret, and you know, humor isn’t its strong suit.”

While Baer said he understood the agency’s desire to stay relevant and deflect attention from its more troubling aspects, he said the attempts at comedy were misguided. “Intelligence agents aren’t very funny generally,” he said, calling the whole approach “unnecessary.”

“You know, the British don’t make their intelligence agents try to be funny, so why should the CIA?” he asked. “And the Russians certainly don’t.”

Baer’s criticisms of the CIA’s Twitter strategy were primarily based on a desire to see the agency remain its traditional, secretive self, but other critics have lashed out at them for attempting a type of faux-transparency while refusing to acknowledge its dark secrets.

Here’s how some other media commentators reacted to the CIA’s #Twitterversary messages on Monday:

Watch video below, via CNN:

[Photo via screengrab]

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