News & Politics

National Security Council Staffer Fired for Twitter Parody

Jofi Joseph was fired after being discovered as the author of a Twitter account that slung insults at senior administration officials.

A White House staffer lost his job—and his social media credibility—after being outed as the author of the Twitter account @natsecwonk, a parody account that sniped at the foreign policy community with sometimes startling accuracy about the Obama administration. Jofi Joseph, who worked on nuclear non-proliferation at the National Security Council, was fired last week after two years of snarky and insulting tweets often directed at his bosses, The Daily Beast reported.
As @natsecwonk, the 40-year-old Joseph took shots at senior White House and State Department officials. “More people should be asking why John Kerry installed two former aides, both with ZERO foreign policy experience, into top posts at State,” he wrote in July.
“Hey @nancypelosi — tonight may not have been the best timing to send out a fundraising email. ‘As of 7 PM,'” he tweeted on August 31, the same day President Obama said he would ask Congress for approval of an airstrike against Syria.
Joseph was bipartisan in his 140-character insults, though. The Washington Post’s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin was a frequent target. One of @natsecwonk’s last tweets, sent 13 days ago, went after former George W. Bush administration press secretary Ari Fleischer. The account has since been shut down, though some of its tweets are still viewable on the Twitter-archiving website Favstar.
“What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments,” Joseph told Politico in a statement. Before going to the White House, Joseph worked for Senators Bob Casey and Joe Biden.
The @natsecwonk account had about 1,400 followers—not a huge audience, though it did have many fans among foreign policy journalists. It was one of many accounts parodying generic Washington jobs, such as @DCJourno@SrWHOfficial, and @HillStaffer. They’re not always funny, but their authors haven’t been exposed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.