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CIA jokingly ‘can neither confirm nor deny’ that it’s now on Twitter

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The CIA, which has long trolled social media to try to uncover global trends and track evil-doers, officially joined Twitter and Facebook on Friday.

The spy agency cast the move as an effort to better get out its message and engage directly with the public, but its first Twitter message, sent out shortly before 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), did not indicate there would be major revelations.

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It said simply: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.”

The lack of content did not dampen interest: in less than 90 minutes, the CIA account had nearly 84,000 followers, and that number was climbing fast.

The Central Intelligence Agency has long had a public website, and maintains official accounts on YouTube and Flickr, the photo-sharing site.

“By expanding to these platforms (Facebook and Twitter), CIA will be able to more directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA’s mission, history, and other developments,” CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement.

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Among the items to be posted are artifacts from the CIA’s (non-public) museum, and updates to its “World Factbook,” a compendium of world leaders, maps and similar information.

Critics say the Obama administration is more secretive than its predecessors. It has cracked down on once-normal interactions between reporters and intelligence officials.

In recent directives, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has banned intelligence officials from speaking to reporters without permission, even about unclassified information, and also from citing news articles based on unauthorized disclosures.

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The CIA’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/central.intelligence.agency. Its Twitter “handle” is @CIA.

(Reporting by Warren Strobel. Editing by David Storey and Lisa Shumaker)

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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‘Martyrdom for snowflakes’: CNN analyst knocks Republicans who desperately wanted to be arrested at protest

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CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.

Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told "there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse."

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram/status/1187173332682182656

Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of "martyrdom for snowflakes."

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Seth Meyers says Republicans storming classified room looked like a protest at a pharmacy that ran out of Viagra

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"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers couldn't help but lambast the far-right Republicans angry that they're not being included in the depositions ahead of the impeachment hearings.

Wednesday, Republicans stormed a secure room known as a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), because they seemed to misunderstand the difference between a deposition and a hearing. In Congressional hearings, witnesses will be presented for members of the committee to question. In a classified deposition, the witness can give information that is considered classified for security reasons. Oddly, some members who are allowed in the room were also protesting.

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WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado

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CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.

"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."

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