Published time: October 23, 2013 05:35

AFP Photo / Saeed Khan

AFP Photo / Saeed Khan

A senior US National Security Council staffer has been fired for using an anonymous Twitter account to send hundreds of messages criticizing the Obama administration from inside the White House.

Jofi Joseph, a director in the nuclear non-proliferation team inside the NSC, was let go a week ago after administration officials spent months investigating who was tweeting from @natsecwonk. The account opened in February 2011 and lasted until last week, sending thousands of tweets critical of Obama’s policies, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and various high level officials in the interim.

Two sources in the administration confirmed to The Daily Beast that Joseph, 40, was behind the account. The staffer was a member of the NSC team that sat across the negotiating table from Iran in Istanbul earlier this year.

“Is it just me, or with the Jews celebrating Rosh Hashanah tonight, is Twitter much quieter?” he once wrote.

What’s so disturbing about the Hillary dancing photo is the high-def resolution of Ben Rhodes’ balding pate. And Jake Sullivan behind him,” another read, referencing US President Obama’s deputy national security advisor and speechwriter as well as Vice President Joe Biden’s national security advisor.

 

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NSC aide admits Twitter attack on White House

A senior National Security Council staffer who was a key member of the White House team negotiating on Iran’s nuclear weapons program told POLITICO he deeply regrets tweeting hundreds of anti-administration messages under the pseudonym @natsecwonk.

Jofi Joseph, 40, was fired from his job on the NSC nuclear non-proliferation team a week ago 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.

“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.”

(Also on POLITICO: White House official fired for tweets)

Obama spokesman Eric Schultz confirmed that Joseph  had left the White House – and that he no longer had his top security clearances.

In the course of their investigations, officials also told Joseph they suspected he was responsible for a second anonymous Twitter account “@dchobbyist” which included racier tweets about sexual encounters, escort services – and the inner workings of the State Department.

“Wow, you look amazingly sexy in this photo!” the @dchobbyist wrote in an Oct. 5th post.

“That was him,” a person briefed on the probe told POLITICO.

Joseph didn’t respond to a request for comment on the second account.

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 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. Joseph had been scheduled to rotate out of White House duty to a senior job in the Pentagon, an administration official told POLITICO.

The revelation that Joseph was @natsecwonk came as a shock because Joseph was a familiar figure in the foreign policy world – as is his wife Carolyn Leddy, a highly-regarded staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to Daily Beast reporter Josh Rogin.

 

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