Jofi Joseph, White House Official, Fired For Tweeting Under Fake Name

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
October 22, 2013 Updated: October 22, 2013

Jofi Joseph, a White House official, was fired for tweeting under a fake name.

Joseph, the director for nonproliferation at the National Security Council and who has served in the Obama administration since 2009, had been tweeting under the moniker @natsecwonk.

The account was “famous inside Washington policy circles” since its inception in February 2011 until it was shut down last week, according to the Daily Beast

Joseph, using the Twitter account, openly criticized policies of the White House and insulted officials. Among the officials he insulted were  Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Some of the tweets are available here

One of them reads:

“I’m a fan of Obama, but his continuing reliance and dependence upon a vacuous cipher like Valerie Jarrett concerns me.”

Another said:

“Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Wiener? Almost as bad a pairing as Samantha Powers and Cass Sunstein.”

Another said:

“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 said:

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

Joseph was fired around the same time the Twitter feed was shut down last week. 

In the profile of the Twitter user, the description read: “Unapologetically says what everyone else only thinks. A keen observer of the foreign policy and national security scene. I’m abrasive and bring the snark.”

Joseph told Politico that he ran the account: 

“It has been a privilege to serve in this Administration and I deeply regret violating the trust and confidence placed in me,” Joseph said 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.”

Administration sources said that Joseph was in line for a senior Pentagon post. 

Joseph was allegedly also behind another Twitter account, @dchobbyist.

A gigantic probe into who was behind the @natsecwonk account intensified after the account posted a series of tweets expressing doubts about the official accounts of the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi.

The probe included an investigation into Joseph’s travel and shopping patterns, according to Politico, and lawyers from the White House counsel’s office confronted Joseph after they explored more than 2,000 of the tweets.

According to a profile of Joseph on the Princeton University website, his government experience goes far back. Among his roles, he advised Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher on a range of multilateral arms control treaties; and before serving in the White House he advised and worked with U.S. Senators Robert Casey Jr. and Joseph Biden Jr. 

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.