A White House official who manned a kind of trollish Twitter account well-known in DC's national security circles lost his job last week after being outed. Jofi Joseph, also known as @NatSecWonk, was fired for running a feed that, among other things, includes criticism of and internal information from the Obama administration. And, being mean to reporters. Which could partially explain why the Daily Beast's Josh Rogin took the time to track down the name after the account disappeared from Twitter last week. Joseph apologized for the content of his account later Tuesday evening.
@NatSecWonk's bio from the now-deleted account read "Unapologetically says what everyone else only thinks. A keen observer of the foreign policy and national security scene. I'm abrasive and bring the snark." The account was also known for its pretty mean-spirited personal insults. Here's a sampling of those tweets:
- "Vitriol against @arifleischer entirely justified. He married a woman a decade younger than him - and she's as ugly as he is! #jackass"
- "Anyone else notice the irony of @brookingsinst holding a roundtable this weekend on Global Poverty in Aspen, CO? Good grief."
- "Does anyone really care what @sulliview thinks? The NY Times Public Editor is a joke. Never seen more navel self-gazing in my life."
- "Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Wiener? Almost as bad a pairing as Samantha Powers and Cass Sunstein"
Until recently, Rogin writes, Joseph was a National Security director at the White House, most recently on the administration's Iran negotiations. Before that, he worked at the State Department, and for Senators Casey and Biden. He was reportedly in line for a promotion to a Pentagon position. In an email to Politico, Joseph admitted that he ran the account and apologized for the "mean-spirited" tone it took on over its two-year tenure:
“It has been a privilege to serve in this Administration and I deeply regret violating the trust and confidence placed in me. 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.”
Foreign Policy wrote about @NatSecWonk's disappearance earlier today, noting that his insults really touched a nerve in the national security world.
One official, who insisted on anonymity if he could be described as "NatSecFlak" said NatSecWonk would not be missed. This official described NatSecWonk as one might talk about an abusive parent who had finally met a sorry end. "NatSecWonk was an acerbic Twitter pundit that relished taking anonymous shots at senior leaders who are doing their very best for this country," NatSecFlak told Foreign Policy in an email. "The rants seemed pathological and personal. I hope whoever was behind the feed will get better soon. Their hate, rebranded as 'snark,' will not be missed."