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White House Official Tracked Down and Fired Over Insulting Tweets 208

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the calls-em-like-he-sees-em dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that Jofi Joseph, a senior National Security Council staffer who was a key member of the White House team negotiating on Iran's nuclear weapons program, has been fired ... after a months-long probe into a barrage of tweets that included caustic criticisms of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top NSC officials, especially Ben Rhodes – whom he accused of dodging questions about Benghazi. Joseph, who posted under the now defunct Twitter name @NatSecWonk, gave a lacerating commentary on anything from policy to personal appearance. 'Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Weiner,' he tweeted, referring to the scandal-hit former New York mayoral candidate and his wife, a former aide of Hillary Clinton. He tweeted that Mrs Clinton 'had few policy goals and no wins' in the Middle East. He said Chelsea Clinton was 'assuming all of her parents' vices,' and targeted figures such as Republican commentator Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney's wife Ann for their looks and weight. Many in the foreign policy community reacted with shock to the revelation that Joseph was the mystery tweeter because Joseph was well known among policy wonks and his wife, Carolyn Leddy, is a well-respected professional staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 'What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments,' said Joseph in an apology. 'I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.'"
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White House Official Tracked Down and Fired Over Insulting Tweets

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  • by barlevg (2111272) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @09:39AM (#45211607)
    Wayback Machine evidently doesn't bother with Twitter, but the page can still (for now) be found on the Google Cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:https://twitter.com/NatSecWonk [googleusercontent.com]
  • by nefus (952656) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @09:40AM (#45211627)
    Will all the secret public email accounts being used to pass information to the press and between departments... they fire a tweeter?
    • by barlevg (2111272) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @09:46AM (#45211693)
      To be fair, any corporation would have done the same thing. If Pepsi (say) discovered a Twitter account that repeatedly says that Pepsi tastes horrible, and it turned out that the owner of the account was one of their employees, it wouldn't matter if that employee never used his or her real name--he or she would be canned faster than, well...
      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Not sure many corporations would have bothered to put the effort in, even so, most corporations have not taken the mantle unto themselves to be the model for freedom and justice in the world (I know; stop laughing, I am trying to make a point here) .

        What others would do is immaterial, what they should have done is realized that part of their job is to set an example and that example includes respecting the right of people to freely assemble (even in new technological forms) and speak

        Given that whoever it wa

      • To be fair, any corporation would have done the same thing. If Pepsi (say) discovered a Twitter account that repeatedly says that Pepsi tastes horrible, and it turned out that the owner of the account was one of their employees, it wouldn't matter if that employee never used his or her real name--he or she would be canned faster than, well...

        I think one difference might be that Pepsi can't use all the power of government to reveal who the tweeter was.

        ~Loyal

        • To be fair, any corporation would have done the same thing. If Pepsi (say) discovered a Twitter account that repeatedly says that Pepsi tastes horrible, and it turned out that the owner of the account was one of their employees, it wouldn't matter if that employee never used his or her real name--he or she would be canned faster than, well...

          I think one difference might be that Pepsi can't use all the power of government to reveal who the tweeter was.

          ~Loyal

          They can, however, use all the powers of Pepsi to reveal who the tweeter was.

          Actually, that may mean they can use all the powers of government.

      • by khr (708262)

        he or she would be canned

        What would they label the can?

      • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:47AM (#45212289) Homepage Journal

        The story here isn't that he was fired. It's that the Whitehouse investigated him. He didn't accidentally leak his identity to some private sector reporter who put it in their article, and then the president saw it in a newspaper. They spent time and money on trying to figure out the identity of a totally irrelevant and unimportant Twitter user over a bunch of totally irrelevant and unimportant tweets. Like, this was important to them.

        At least Pepsi would be able to somewhat justify such an expenditure, since their marketing really is so important, and all Pepsi stockholders would agree that marketing is a good use of funds. But what say America's "stockholders," about our new "marketing counter-intelligence" program?

        They guy wasn't even saying stuff analogous to "USA sucks for tourists. Foreign tourists should take vacations somewhere else and spend their money there instead of in USA." or "You should buy used F-16s from Israel instead of from USA." He was just talking shit about shit. There's no legitimate reason for the government to have been working on this.

      • But the analogy doesn't work, because the government is limited by a different set of laws than a private company. The government cannot censor the speech of an employee, not because of employer-employee relationship, but because of the limits placed on government in general. Therefore, it is important determine if the government, in general, has over stepped its bounds. Ken White had a good write up last month about the relationship of University Professors and the State: Pophat [popehat.com]
    • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:02AM (#45211835)

      Apparently there are repercussions for criticizing the "most transparent administration ever" cover ups.

      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.

      So, why did they force survivors to sign secrecy agreements?

      BenghaziGate: At Least 5 CIA Employees Forced to Sign Nondisclosure Agreements [breitbart.com]

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      Why would they do that don't spin doctors do this down the pub face to face or via an anonymous tip from a "friend" or "close personal friends say"
  • Was Carolyn Leddy wearing beer goggles the night she met Jofi Joseph?

    • They both must have been, and in a low lit room at that.

      That, and I wonder which one has the larger penis.

  • Insults? (Score:2, Funny)

    by mrspoonsi (2955715)
    Perhaps much of what he said is true...the truth should not be insulting. In these politically correct times, he should have changed:

    Mrs Clinton 'had few policy goals and no wins' in the Middle East.

    to:

    Mrs Clinton was policy goal challenged.
    • And his personal attacks on people not in politics like Chelsea Clinton, Liz Cheney, and Ann Romney could be spun how? Hey I'm all for criticizing politicians for their politics. Leave their families and personal attacks out of it.
    • Perhaps much of what he said is true...the truth should not be insulting.

      You're right, it shouldn't be.

      However, remember the words of the great Robert Heinlein: "Being right too soon is socially unacceptable."

      Unfortunately for this gentleman, the social group which found him unacceptable just so happens to be the biggest, most paranoid government in the history of mankind.

      • the social group which found him unacceptable just so happens to be the biggest, most paranoid government in the history of mankind.

        Unfortunately the next administration will make this one's efforts seem like child's play.

        • the social group which found him unacceptable just so happens to be the biggest, most paranoid government in the history of mankind.

          Unfortunately the next administration will make this one's efforts seem like child's play.

          Yea, it's a cascading failure. I weep for future generations who will live their entire lives under the boot of authoritarian fascism.

  • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:02AM (#45211837)
    I can't believe that any prominent person tweets at all. The medium encourages inflammatory behavior and doesn't let there be any context. Recipe for disaster.
  • This guy was so very impressed with himself and his insider status that he forgot to act like a professional. He got his free speech and the consequences of that speech. I'm sure his wife appreciates the celebrity he has brought them.
  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:13AM (#45211941) Journal
    As a TrueNerd© I'd like to know precisely how this person was caught. Was he tweeting from work? If not, it makes me wonder...
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:18AM (#45211995) Homepage Journal
    especially Ben Rhodes â" whom he accused of dodging questions about Benghazi.

    I find it amusing people focusing on an event which transpired over a few hours when absolutely no investigation or questions were raised about the two DAY refusal by the Bush administration to send in more troops to block the escape of Bin Laden.

    For those that don't know, officers on the ground, both U.S. and British, made repeated requests over a two day period to have more troops dropped in to block escape routes for Bin Laden when they had him pinned down in Tora Bora. They could hear him over the radio telling his people the end looked near and he had failed them. According to one British source, they estimated the troops were within 2 kilometers of Bin Laden [bbc.co.uk].

    However, for those two days the Bush administration refused all requests for more troops, claiming the Afghan forces could be used instead of allied troops (which was a complete failure). As a result, Bin Laden ran free for another decade until the Obama administration was able to track him down.

    Funny how not one person ever jumped up and said, "We need to investigate why Bin Laden, the man who planned the worst terrorist attack on American soil, was allowed to escape!", yet people are hellbent on talking about mistakes made over a few hours which somehow ranks higher in importance.
    • by FriendlyLurker (50431) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:27AM (#45212103)
      How can you have a "war on terror" if you quickly take out the high profile leader of your worst enemy? That was one long decade of profits [globalissues.org] that they bought themselves...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:37AM (#45212195)

      Any time Benghazi comes up, it's imperative for shills to employee "but-but-but-Bush!"

  • Back in my day we'd track down and SHOOT the bastard ourselves.

    -D Cheney
  • by dcollins (135727) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:26AM (#45212089) Homepage

    It does lend credence to John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory:

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19/ [penny-arcade.com]

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:31AM (#45212133)

    Dunno about you, but if I were to make comments like that where I work, I expect the boss to say something like 'I see you're really unhappy here, so why don't you take this box and clean out your desk'. Why is this a big deal? It's not like he got jail time out of it.

  • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @10:34AM (#45212171) Homepage Journal

    While firing the unprofessional jerk after he was outed is perfectly defensible (I have no problem with it at all), the government did get caught working against America's interests again:

    The website Politico said White House officials had worked over months to discover the identity of Mr Joseph - a key member of the team negotiating over Iran's nuclear programme.

    It said his travel and shopping habits had been profiled by parsing over 2,000 tweets.

    Why THE FUCK was the government spending time investigating this? And why the fuck is this not a big secret?

    The BushBama whitehouse is seriously confused about what the country needs from its government, and over the last 12 years they have just gotten repeatedly more brazen and open about it. Is it simply that really, nobody cares?

    I pay taxes in order for you to funnel them to obscurely-overbilling contractors for substandard work, so that they can then divert a portion of their obscene profits to the re-election campaigns of the people in congress and administration, who make the funneling happen. That is why we have government: to give crooks a non-violent outlet for their greed and need to victimize society. A few billion dollars here, a few billion dollars there .. we have a strong economy and can sustain that.

    But I don't pay taxes for you people to spend it tracking tweets. That's not what government is for! All these crooks need to get out of the surveillance game and back into mainstream profitable corruption. And we voters should insist upon it. Please, everyone: stop voting Republicrat.

  • You can tell what the priorities of the Obama administration are by who they hold accountable. People can die in Benghazi, give guns to Mexican drug lords, abuse the powers of the IRS, but when it comes to tweeting, somebody has to go down.
  • I think his remarks about are probably accurate.

    This is nothing but censorship. The government does not want us tax paying peons to know the truth about our exalted leaders.

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acoustix (123925) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @11:52AM (#45213037) Homepage

    We fire a guy for insulting tweets, but....

    - We don't fire people for the Fast & Furious illegal gun running op.
    - We don't fire people for the IRS scandal.
    - We don't fire for the lies to the public regarding Benghazi
    - We don't fire for the absolute disaster that is the Obamacare implementation

    It's nice to see that our priorities are in order. It's also obvious that this administration is extremely thin skinned and cannot take any amount of criticism. They view their political enemies as a first priority and everything else be dammed.

    • by geek (5680)

      We fire a guy for insulting tweets, but....

      - We don't fire people for the Fast & Furious illegal gun running op.
      - We don't fire people for the IRS scandal.
      - We don't fire for the lies to the public regarding Benghazi
      - We don't fire for the absolute disaster that is the Obamacare implementation

      It's nice to see that our priorities are in order. It's also obvious that this administration is extremely thin skinned and cannot take any amount of criticism. They view their political enemies as a first priority and everything else be dammed.

      Those are called resume enhancers to Democrats. The more they fuck up the higher up the chain they go. Liberals protect their own at all costs with the help of their liberal media cronies.

  • by godel_56 (1287256) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:25PM (#45218179)
    From TFA:

    "After a probe that included an investigation into Joseph’s travel and shopping patterns – parsed from over 2,000 tweets - lawyers from the White House counsel’s office confronted Joseph and ordered him to leave the executive complex, according to two sources familiar with the situation."

    There's your tax dollars at work. Money well spent, I'd say. /sarcasm.

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