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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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October 23rd, 2013
05:57 PM ET

Roundtable: Why would '@NatSecWonk' take the risk?

The tweets of @NatSecWonk, or former national security official Jofi Joseph, quickly became nasty. Within two or three days of creating the account, he started attacking people.

How does someone get so high in the national security establishment, and do something as foolish as tweet bile-filled rants against his bosses, the administration, and Congress for two years?

"I feel like you're nobody in this town if you weren't attacked by him," said Ryan Lizza, CNN commentator and Washington correspondent for New Yorker magazine.

"I wouldn't defend what he wrote for a second, but I can't help but ask the question of, you know, does someone who works in the government have the right to sort of vent on Twitter?" said Lizza. "Is there any sort of right that you have just to be out there and say what you want anonymously?"

"No," politics editor for Business Insider Josh Barro emphatically said. "There are lots of jobs where it's important that you not say things in public that undermine your employer" even if it is done anonymously.

Joseph did in fact criticize policy via @NatSecWonk, tweeting that the Obama administration's Syria policy was incoherent.

"I'm all about people who, you know, are dissenting views making their voices known, but if that means your employer wants to fire you, then your employer has a right to fire you," said Kristin Soltis Anderson, Republican strategist and vice president of the Winston Group.

"He wasn't a whistle-blower where he had this principled stand against something, and was just trying to get the word out there," said Soltis Anderson, adding that the tweets carried nasty comments, sometimes disparaging towards women. "It was just gross and it didn't really further, I don't think, any kind of cause that he may have had."

For more of our political panel, check out the video above.

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