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October 23rd, 2013
05:14 PM ET

White House national security official fired over Twitter rants

Jofi Joseph's résumé read like a Washington A-lister's: State Department, Capitol Hill, and senior national security staffer at the White House with top security clearance. The national security staff director was even being vetted for a plum job at the Pentagon.

One teeny weeny problem – Joseph was anonymously tweeting as "@NatSecWonk," posting vicious things about his bosses, senior members of the administration, members of Congress, and world leaders.

"Obama can be a (expletive) to his staff and not afraid to throw them under the bus for his own self interest #confessyourunpopularopinion," he posted on August 8.

"Obama’s approval rating is plunging, his 2nd term agenda striggles, yet (White House chief of staff) Denis McDonough is earning kudos all around #huh?" sent on August 12.

“Look, (Republican congressman Darrell) Issa is an ass, but he’s on to something here with the @HillaryClinton whitewash of accountability for Benghazi,” he tweeted.

Senior officials confirm to CNN that Joseph was fired for tweeting under the @NatSecWonk alias.

"His vulgar, and insulting, and often rude attacks created a community of people who were so angry and frustrated with his efforts, that they started sort of an informal investigation," said The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, who broke the story last night.

"All of this eventually culminated into his discovery by the White House itself, which somehow figured out he was the mystery tweeter and summarily fired him," said Rogin.

Joseph's targets included Republicans and Democrats alike.

He accused Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, of "running Amateur Hour over there as lead Republican on SFRC," referring to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He called Secretary of State John Kerry "a human loose cannon!"

He questioned whether one unmarried senator "is in fact a straight man?"

He called one female senate candidate an "overweight fat pig," said Al Gore had become a "major money grubber," and called the Palin family "white trash ... utter useless garbage."

He tweeted that Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren "was particularly untrusted," and that United Nations Secretary General "Ban Ki Moon is the weakest UNSYG (sic) in modern history."

He decried the "weak WH leg affairs shop" and the "crappy national security appointments in the Obama administration." He called presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett "a vacuous cipher," and plenty of other names cruder and nastier than that. He also called former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe a "prick."

"Is there anyone in DC who thinks Jay Carney is actually a good White House press secretary?" he asked of his colleague.

He also occasionally posted scathing critiques of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, and insider information about moves in the national security community.

As recently as September 20, Joseph posted a personal attack against the president himself, tweeting, "this has Dukakis in a tank written all over it" in reference to a photo of Obama in a Ford.

It took more than two years and 2,200 tweets, but last week, the @NatSecWonk Twitter feed was shut down. And the man with the golden résumé behind it was gone.

View archived tweets from @NatSecWonk

As he tweeted from behind the anonymous screen of Twitter, Joseph called out others by name, including Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communication Ben Rhodes.

"Oh Ben Rhodes, the sad and pathetic life of constantly spinning appears to be getting to you," he wrote on June 18.

"In one fell swoop Jofi Joseph has managed to trash all of the relationships he's had both inside and outside the administration. That will be very difficult for him to repair," said Rogin. "He also lost his top security clearance. He'll have a very hard time rebuilding his career."

Joseph's attacks against Rhodes went even further, when he tweeted, "Gotta imagine Ben Rhodes is lawyering up now that a leak investigation is underway. If anyone in the Obama White House leaked, it was him."

"He also took issue with Mr. Rhodes' personality, his appearance, and accused him on several occasions of leaking classified information, including related to the Stuxnet virus – the U.S.-Israeli secret project to thwart Iran's nuclear program," said Rogin.

Former national security council spokesman Tommy Vietor told CNN, "I sat 10 feet away from Ben Rhodes for two years at the NSC. He spent countless days trying to prevent or mitigate leaks of classified information that could harm our national security."

"These accusations are ridiculous and wrong," said Vietor.

A senior White House official with deep knowledge of the investigation of the Stuxnet virus leak tells CNN that "Ben Rhodes has zero exposure" when it comes to any suspicion of mishandling sensitive information.

CNN should note that @NatSecWonk attacked many reporters and guests regularly on "The Lead with Jake Tapper." A year ago he tweeted "How does @jaketapper justify bringing Beau Biden on his show? Other than being the Veep's son, how is he different from 49 other state AGs?"

Joseph did not return CNN's calls and e-mails, but he told Politico, "It has been a privilege to serve in this Administration and I deeply regret violating the trust and confidence placed in me ... What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments. I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted."

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