CIA Live Tweets: Like or Scroll?


Anna Finley

CIA tweet on the anniversary of bin Laden’s death

Ben Stoffel, Sentry Staff Reporter

On May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) announced that its Twitter account (@CIA) would be tweeting out the exact times of what occurred during the raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011. The five-year anniversary of this historic raid provoked controversy at home, because people were unsure why the CIA would tweet timelines of an event considered to be so confidential at the time it happened. However, there have been instances like this in the past, where the CIA would tweet out previously confidential information across timelines during an anniversary of an operation. A CIA spokesperson said that they have done this for events such as the U-2 shootdown and Project Azorian from the Cold War, as well as the Iranian hostage crisis. But there is a question that still remains in the back of our heads: why now?

There could not have been a better time to tweet out this anniversary. While the method (Twitter) was a little strange, it definitely paid respect to one of the most important military achievements of the 21st century thus far. It gives the public a first person experience as if they were involved in the operation, and to experience something which generated such a great amount of nationalist sentiment in our country is amazing. While I do agree that the anniversary tweets were a good idea, I am hesitant to say that it was a good idea that our nation’s most secret agency (who has an active Twitter account?) tweeted out what used to be highly classified information.

Regardless, the CIA faced negative social media repercussions following their tweets. During the “live tweet” event, people expressed their anger, disdain and cynicality via tweets in response to the top-secret organization. This is understandable, since the killing of Osama bin Laden was a very sensitive topic when it happened, and people do not want the CIA to portray itself as glorifying killing. But why not?

While the CIA may not have the best track record when it comes to taking out leaders of rival factions in undeveloped countries, the outcome of this operation was a net positive gain. So why not glorify the killing of a man who caused so much pain and destruction for our country and its people on September 11, 2001? The answer is simple. There are, and unfortunately always will be, people who have condemned our involvement in the Middle East and everything surrounding it.

This immediately draws parallels to the controversy over the American Sniper, Chris Kyle. When the Clint Eastwood-directed movie was released in theaters early last year, the same type of people who condemned the Bin Laden killing were up in arms about the ethics of Kyle in the movie.

This is as frustrating now as it was then. These people who argue that soldiers in Seal Team Six and Kyle were murderers cannot seem to comprehend the idea that they were protecting our freedoms. The anniversary of the killing of Bin Laden is symbolic of that exact protection; soldiers killed the most notorious terrorist in recent history in order to ensure that another terrorist attack similar to 9/11 would not happen to our bountiful country.

Count me out of ridiculing the government for the implied glorification of killing. That is a poor and embarrassing defense for those who cannot comprehend just how significant the death of Bin Laden was to the war on terror. It also is offensive to those who participated in the raid in Abbottabad, as it discredits their mission as just another murder. The cynicality and the ultimate hesitance that people have to recognize the killing of a terrorist is astounding to me. I do not glorify killing by any means, but when it comes to war, I think it is on a solid foundation when I say that there are certain people who just need to go.