By Joan E. Greve
June 6, 2014

The Central Intelligence Agency joined Twitter Friday, racking up over 60,000 followers within an hour of its first tweet:

We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.

— CIA (@CIA) June 6, 2014

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The message, a joking reference to a “glomar response,” was retweeted 50,000 times. In a state release announcing its “social media expansion,” the CIA said that it planned to tweet throwback Thursday photos, fun facts, and agency updates. The CIA also recently joined Facebook.

The CIA’s Twitter profile description reads, “we are the Nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.”

The “glomar response” was first popularized by the CIA in 1975 after a reporter began digging around regarding the attempted salvaging of a sunken Russian submarine. After the reporter accused the CIA of keeping the salvaging and reporting about it under wraps, the CIA said it would “neither confirm nor deny” the project or its efforts to quash the story around it.

A CIA spokesman said someone had been impersonating the agency on Twitter, which led officials to file an impersonation complaint that eventually secured the @CIA handle for Langley. “This has been a lengthy process,” spokesman Todd Ebitz said. “It’s been in the works for a long time.”

CIA joins other government agencies, such as the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, on the social media site. Welcome to the 21st century, CIA!

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