This is what happens when services like Twitter fail to deal with identity issues and lets trolls rule their roost.
Jofi Joseph, a director in the non-proliferation section of the National Security Staff at the White House, has been surreptitiously tweeting under the moniker @natsecwonk, a Twitter feed famous inside Washington policy circles since it began in February, 2011 until it was shut down last week. Two administration officials confirmed that the mystery tweeter was Joseph, who has also worked at the State Department and on Capitol Hill for Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Biden. Until recently, he was part of the administration's team working on negotiations with Iran.
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.
The Daily Beast saved a long record of @natsecwonk's tweets prior to the shutting down of his Twitter feed.
He was also leaking national security information on that Twitter feed, which delighted journalists who followed him and frustrated the White House.
Joseph, who was part of the White House team that opened up preliminary negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in Istanbul earlier this year, lived a double life, working with NSC officials and State Department higher-ups on the most sensitive issues while secretly tweet-bombing them with comments like: “’Has shitty staff.’ #ObamaInThreeWords.”
For months, White House and State department officials searched for @NatSecWonk, a hunt that intensified after he repeatedly expressed doubts about the official administration accounts about the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi.
After serving a stint at the State Department, he wrote: “Look, (Republican Rep. Darrell) Issa is an ass, but he's on to something here with the @HillaryClinton whitewash of accountability for Benghazi.”
But he just writes the whole adventure off to a little desire for snark and parody.
“It has been a privilege to serve in this Administration and I deeply regret violating the trust and confidence placed in me,” Joseph told POLITICO in an email.
“What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments. I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.”
He should maybe start with the taxpayers, who now have to put up with Darrell Issa and his gang of Groundswell wingnuts screaming Benghazi every five minutes because he had his hate on for the Clintons.
Twitter should be apologetic, too. Their pseudo-libertarian nonsense where they elevate celebrities by verifying their identity while ignoring the serious implications of what that freedom brings has now been shoved in their faces. Will they reconsider their obsession with celebrity and create a pathway for verified identities for all users?
I doubt it.