Washington Bureau

10.22.13

Exclusive: White House Official Fired for Tweeting Under Fake Name

Jofi Joseph, an official in the National Security Staff at the White House, was fired last week after being caught as the tweeter behind @natsecwonk, a feed that’s been leaking internal information since 2011. Josh Rogin reports.

A White House national security official was fired last week after being caught as the mystery Tweeter who has been tormenting the foreign policy community with insulting comments and revealing internal Obama administration information for over two years.

Jofi Joseph, a director in the non-proliferation section of the National Security Staff at the White House, has been surreptitiously tweeting under the moniker @natsecwonk, a Twitter feed famous inside Washington policy circles since it began in February, 2011 until it was shut down last week. Two administration officials confirmed that the mystery tweeter was Joseph, who has also worked at the State Department and on Capitol Hill for Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Biden. Until recently, he was part of the administration's team working on negotiations with Iran.

During his time tweeting under the @natsecwonk name, Joseph openly criticized the policies of his White House bosses and often insulted their intellect and appearance. At different times, he insulted or criticized several top White House and State Department officials, including former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Secretary of State John Kerry, and many many others.

The Daily Beast saved a long record of @natsecwonk's tweets prior to the shutting down of his Twitter feed.

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

“Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Wiener? Almost as bad a pairing as Samantha Powers and Cass Sunstein ....,” he tweeted on another occasion, insulting a top Clinton aide, a then Congressman, and two White House senior officials in one tweet.

Video screenshot

The Daily Beast Senior Correspondent Josh Rogin joins 'Good Morning America' and 'Today' to discuss @natsecwonk.

Joseph's snark was not confined to his Obama administration colleagues. He also took aim at senior Republican figures and lowly GOP Hill staffers.

“So when will someone do us the favor of getting rid of Sarah Palin and the rest of her white trash family? What utter useless garbage .... ,” he tweeted last October.

During the 2012 Presidential campaign, he lashed out at conservative journalists and members of the presidential campaign staff of Mitt Romney

“@MiekeEoyang Come on, I expected better of you. @jrubinblogger is CRAZY unhinged while @noonanjo is an overweight paid Romney shill,” he tweeted, referring to the Washington Post's conservative blogger Jen Rubin and Romney campaign national security staffer John Noonan.

For many in the foreign policy community reacting Tuesday night, the revelation that Joseph was the mystery tweeter @natsecwonk was a shock because Joseph was well known among policy wonks and his wife, Carolyn Leddy, is a well-respected professional staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But inside the administration, there was little sympathy for the man who they feel had betrayed their confidence while taunting them all the while.

“My friends call me Batman,” he once tweeted.

A White House spokesman confirmed that Joseph no longer works there but declined further comment.