White House Officials Planted False Info to See If @NatSecWonk Would Leak It

The fired White House official behind @NatSecWonk may have been caught by his own colleagues.

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The fired White House official behind @NatSecWonk may have been caught by his own colleagues. According to a Washington Post report, national security officials tired of being trolled by the mean-spirited Twitter account fed false information to the suspect to see if @NatSecWonk would tweet it. According to an official with knowledge of the plan, the effort got pretty intense:

"It was like they were hunting for bin Laden in a cave and he was right in the belly of the beast all along."

It's not clear whether the officials' plan to troll the troller was what linked national security official Jofi Joseph to @NatSecWonk, but Joseph was fired all the same last week. He has since apologized for "the series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments" and "to everyone I insulted."

The White House's effort to catch Joseph illustrates how influential the administration thought @NatSecWonk was. Though the account had less than 1,600 followers, "the feed was watched closely by an influential circle of foreign policy experts in Washington think tanks, on Capitol Hill, and at the NSC, the State Department and the Pentagon," the Post reports.

And Joseph, by all accounts, was otherwise a good government employee. Before he was caught, he was in the final stages of being vetted for a top job at the Pentagon. Time's Michael Crowley explains that Joseph was "wonky," not snarky, in person: "Over lunch or coffee he was less interested in trashing colleagues than in diving deep on Iranian centrifuge capacity or deterrence theory in a post-Soviet world."

But Joseph's @NatSecWonk tweets were decidedly rude, especially towards women. On one occasion, he bashed former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer: "Vitriol against @arifleischer entirely justified. He married a woman a decade younger than him - and she's as ugly as he is! #jackass" In another, he managed to insult two White House officials and New York couple Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner in one tweet: "Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Wiener? Almost as bad a pairing as Samantha Powers and Cass Sunstein."

Unfortunately for Joseph, his trial isn't over yet. Some have suggested the former official is also behind @DCHobbyist, an account that has been used to solicit hookers.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.