The CIA announced Friday that it is expanding its public outreach efforts into the social media realm by launching official Twitter and Facebook accounts that anyone in the general public can follow, The Washington Times reported.
The new accounts - @CIA for Twitter and facebook.com/central.intelligence.agency for Facebook - add to an existing social media presence on Flickr and YouTube that are already being managed by the agency's public relations arm.
The Twitter account was instantly popular on Friday morning and CIA officials appeared to be taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to its launch, tweeting Friday morning that: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first Tweet."
By Friday afternoon, the message had been retweeted more than 11,000 times.
CIA Director John Brennan offered a more sober approach to the announcement.
"By expanding to these platforms, CIA will be able to more directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA's mission, history and other developments," Mr. Brennan said in a statement Friday. "We have important insights to share, and we want to make sure that unclassified information about the Agency is more accessible to the American public that we serve, consistent with our national security mission."
CIA public relations officials said that in addition to posting posting the latest news, statements, and career information from CIA, social media updates on Twitter and Facebook will also feature artifacts and other information from the CIA Museum - a facility at the agency's headquarters in Northern Virginia that is coyly referred to in intelligence circles as "the best museum most people never get to see."
The CIA's Office of Public Affairs said in a statement that the agency will also post updates and information from the agency's 'World Factbook,' website, as well as unclassified intelligence histories and other information.