The official CIA Twitter account is a strange place, filled with ICYMI's from decades ago, facts about invisible ink, and images of counterfeit Nazi paraphernalia. The agency will often tweet about historic military operations whose details are no longer classified, but today it seems to be taking that premise to a potentially regrettable place by "live-tweeting" the 2011 raid at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan as if it were happening in real time.
To mark the 5th anniversary of the Usama Bin Ladin operation in Abbottabad we will tweet the raid as if it were happening today.#UBLRaid— CIA (@CIA) May 1, 2016
1:51 pm EDT - Helicopters depart from Afghanistan for compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan#UBLRaid— CIA (@CIA) May 1, 2016
A government agency tweeting, (in real time plus five years, down to the minute) about an old military operation in the present tense: what could go wrong? While the CIA is not technically live-tweeting, because the raid happened half a decade ago, these missives could very easily read like real-time descriptions of an event. Because most people will be seeing these tweets in their feed (as opposed to on the CIA's page) many will likely miss the original tweet announcing the CIA's intention. It doesn't help that the CIA's special hashtag #UBLRaid (for "Usama Bin Ladin Raid") is both confusing and unnecessary.
Public reactions to the stunt appear to be mostly negative:
@CIA You've lost the plot mate— Luke O'Neil (@lukeoneil47) May 1, 2016
.@CIA What if you didn't? What would that be like?— Dan Telfer (@dantelfer) May 1, 2016
.@CIA pic.twitter.com/8tPivjfGHk— Matt Erspamer (@erspamer_matt) May 1, 2016
Maybe the CIA will see the feedback and #DeleteTheirAccount or maybe they'll see this strange decision through. In any case, we already know how it ends.
Update, 3:40PM ET: It's still going:
3:39 pm EDT - Usama Bin Ladin found on third floor and killed#UBLRaid— CIA (@CIA) May 1, 2016