Jofi Joseph, a director in the non-proliferation section of the National Security Staff at the White House, was fired last week when it was learned he was running an anonymous Twitter account used to torment the foreign policy and national security community.
The account, using the handle @natsecwonk, began in November 2011 and regularly criticized top White House officials including Secretary of State John Kerry and Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes. And it quickly became, according to some, a “valuable source of information in the Beltway.” So much so that when the account disappeared last week, Foreign Policy penned an article entitled “The Mysterious Disappearance of @NetSecWonk and Why We'll Remember Him or Her.” In the piece, the account is noted for its ability to use “every opportunity to point out a mistake in a story, a mark missed, or a display of what to him or her was sheer idiocy.”
According to the Daily Beast’s Josh Rogin, two administration officials have confirmed Joseph was behind the account and that he has been fired. Joseph had recently been part of the administration’s team that worked on negotiations with Iran.
The Daily Beast also kept a record of some of Joseph’s better tweets:
“I'm a fan of Obama, but his continuing reliance and dependence upon a vacuous cipher like Valerie Jarrett concerns me,” he once tweeted.
“Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Wiener? Almost as bad a pairing as Samantha Powers and Cass Sunstein ....,” he tweeted on another occasion, insulting a top Clinton aide, a then Congressman, and two White House senior officials in one tweet.
Joseph's snark was not confined to his Obama administration colleagues. He also took aim at senior Republican figures and lowly GOP Hill staffers.
“So when will someone do us the favor of getting rid of Sarah Palin and the rest of her white trash family? What utter useless garbage .... ,” he tweeted last October.
Joseph’s secret identity and firing have come as a surprise to the foreign policy community as he was well-respected. But, as Rogin notes, “there was little sympathy for the man who they feel had betrayed their confidence while taunting them all the while.”
UPDATE: Joseph emailed a statement to Politico:
“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.”
Politico also has more information about the investigation:
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.