Friday, October 25, 2013

Twitter Twatter

At the same time Twiter is moving into the billion dollar stratosphere of social media IPO's, or as I call it the dumb bomb phase of our economy, it was announced that one Twitterer tweeted a tad too much and as a result lost his job. His job, however, was not the cook at the local Waffle House but one on the road to the Pentagon via the White House.

There is much debate about the power of social media pro and con and the danger it can contribute to lives in ways that we fully don't understand.

Al Jazeera did a piece on the Stream the other day about the issues surrounding cyber stalking, then we have the issues regarding the NSA, the privacy removals from Facebook, the overwhelming pressure to live life online and in turn that is used to generate further violations of privacy to generate income to those that invite one to participate all in the idea of free speech, anonymity and collectivity if you so choose. Even the Republican party is quick to note that they use Twitter as a gauge to the party faithful to decide policy. We seem to have no delination between our physical lives and the ones online and that also seems to be more of an increasing problem in the way we manage them both.

As I have just begun to read the book Alone Together discussing the issues of how living on the internets have brought both good and bad sides to building communities, relationships and communication and the overall effect it has on society at large; I have found it to be frankly a distraction or diversion nothing more.

So when I read about this man's fall from grace I thought "wow this is whole lot of nothing" and I think it is more about the tastelessness of his tweets versus a security concern but he is also the lowest hanging fruit. Someone has to be made an example of and just as in Wall Street where many of the ones on trial are simply body guards to the higher ups, the Government needed to show that they NSA themselves too! Gosh thanks and now could you actually do something of meaning or should I just Tweet that.

We have become a society obsessed with how many likes, friends, followers and retweets we have. I wonder if we in real life would actually say or like any of it publically or honestly? I am in real life blunt and as direct online. My tweets are much like other posts I do on other message boards - brain farts and stream of consciouness or rants. Even this blog I simply write my narrative and often edit well after posting. I don't think of this as a cross between essential writing or professional sourcing as in journalism let alone the equivalent of a doctoral dissertation, but simply a chance to vent, throw out an idea or have an opinion on something. I recall back decades ago in a college class a student said, "you have a lot of opinions." My response, "yes and?" He goes that was all he thought. Okay then glad I have them clearly it means I am thinking, he not so much. I think that might have been my first documented conversation with an idiot.

As for the Tweeter, well frankly his sounds boring and he did nothing to reveal Government secrets so this is much ado about nothing and he is just a sacraficial lamb. Meanwhile the tweets from actual elected Congresspeople are way more alarming for their level of stupidty and arrogance, shame they can't be fired.

White House Official’s Career Twitters Out

Published: October 24, 2013

WASHINGTON — Until his Twitter adventures under the handle @NatSecWonk ended his career this week, Jofi Joseph embodied all the elements of a Washington cliché, down to the security card around his neck. His degree in foreign service was earned at Georgetown, which propelled him to his first job as an analyst in the Congressional Budget Office, the ultimately anonymous D.C. gig.

On Twitter, Eavesdropper Reveals Former N.S.A. Head’s Train Chat (October 25, 2013) A Harry S. Truman and Rotary International scholar, he clocked his time on Capitol Hill, working for both Senator Bob Casey, the Democrat from Pennsylvania, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Then he was off to the executive branch, where he found a perch at the State Department before moving to the White House as a junior staff member on loan to the National Security Council, buried in the deepest weeds of nuclear proliferation.

He liked cycling: check. He hiked. And like so many denizens of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Joseph, 40, took to Twitter to express all manner of things on the mind. In his case, it was musings on foreign policy, observations about the cognitive abilities of his colleagues and a not-so-minor fixation on the appearance of women, generally expressed ungenerously. Sample Twitter message: “Admit it, when you heard Helen Thomas went out on a date with JFK back in the day, you asked yourself, ‘Wait, she was attractive once?’ ”

To be fair, he also noted the challenges of Benjamin Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, and his hair follicles. He did it all under his anonymous Twitter account, which, like Mr. Joseph’s public-sector career, was shut down after an investigation by the White House revealed Mr. Joseph’s off-hours activities and dismissed him. Mr. Joseph’s motivations appeared without ideology — he has donated to Democratic candidates but also had a fellowship at a conservative foundation and is married to a Republican Hill staff member.

Nor did the messages have any particular self-promotional purpose — Mr. Joseph had just over 1,500 followers on Twitter, rendering him something close to a nonentity in the foreign policy conversation. But the collateral damage of his public musings was not only to his own promising career — he was headed to a plum job as a senior adviser to the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer — but perhaps even to the career of his wife, who has her own serious foreign policy credentials.

Sample tweet No. 2: “And, hey, @SenBobCorker — are you really taking potshots at Obama when you are running Amateur Hour over there as lead Republican on SFRC?”

The abbreviation is for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which employs his wife.

It’s not Shakespeare; but as tragedies go, it is maybe a bit Woodward.

“I was stunned by the news,” Senator Casey said through a spokeswoman. “I saw no sign of this kind of behavior. This conduct is inexcusable for someone working for the federal government, especially in the area of national security.”

After working on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and advising its chairman at the time, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., on arms control, nonproliferation and military assistance issues, Mr. Joseph worked for Mr. Casey for two years. Mr. Joseph, who was born in Germany, was the sole foreign policy adviser to Mr. Casey, and was remembered in his office as someone quick to understand what issues would best garner news media attention for his boss, a former colleague recalled. But he also was committed to issues that did not draw the media, like conditions in Uganda.

When a soldier from Pennsylvania was electrocuted in Iraq because of faulty wiring in the showers, Mr. Joseph worked “day and night” on Mr. Casey’s behalf to get responses from the Pentagon and military contractors about a problem that had killed other soldiers. “I think he genuinely cared about this,” the colleague said.

In 2009, he left to join the Obama administration as a senior adviser to Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher, engaging on a range of arms control and nonproliferation efforts.

Ms. Tauscher said he was in many ways a model employee: knowledgeable, astute and hard-working. “I’m so dismayed and hurt,” she said, “but I’m also mystified as to how someone who presented himself day in, day out, as responsible and sober could be so self-destructive. As my mother always said, ‘You never know someone.’ ”

Aides to Mr. Biden said he remembered Mr. Joseph from the younger man’s time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but did not know him well. While they said they did not know how Mr. Joseph came to work in the administration — first at the State Department in 2009, and then at the National Security Council in the White House — they all said they did not think Mr. Biden had anything to do with it.

In 2011, Mr. Joseph also held a national security fellowship at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, which has a generally conservative bent. “Clearly, he had risen up through the Democratic ranks,” said Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of the foundation, where fellowships are designed for “young and upcoming national security people in D.C.” of all views, Mr. Dubowitz said.

Mr. Joseph’s wife, Carolyn Leddy, has had a career that is the mirror image of his, working for Congressional Republicans and the Bush administration, but checking the same professional boxes: Foreign Relations Committee, State Department and the National Security Council, where she also served as a director of counterproliferation strategy. Mr. Joseph and Ms. Leddy did not respond to e-mails and phone calls on Thursday. White House advisers, under orders not to speak to reporters about Mr. Joseph, also declined to comment.

A consistent snapshot of Mr. Joseph emerges from the strands of recollections from his associates and friends in recent years: Of a man who stood out as smart and savvy even in a world full of such people, and as a funny colleague whose humor occasionally tended to the kind of sarcasm and bite that would define his Twitter feed — but not to the personally petty and mean spirit of many of the now-infamous messages. “Like the rest of us, he could be caustic and eviscerate people if he didn’t think they were up to the job,” said a former close colleague of Mr. Joseph. “He’s got an edge, but it wasn’t without purpose.”

Now, in retrospect, some associates say that they saw signs of the more negative tendency. Increasingly in recent years, these associates say, Mr. Joseph could convey a sense either of disgruntlement that he was not being recognized as he thought he should be, or of resentment toward those who were getting ahead, undeservedly in his view.

That animus, some suggest, drove his repeated tweets taking digs at Mr. Rhodes, a more senior National Security Council official who is several years younger than Mr. Joseph.

In an era in which tweeting through the day defines, and occasionally derails, many American workers, Mr. Joseph may have presaged his own demise. On Sept. 3, he typed: “Will do my best to live Tweet this Syria hearing this afternoon to share my snark — until my boss finds out, that is. And with that ...”

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