NatSecWonk Declines to Comment on Ben Rhodes White House Leaks

Was fired last year after anonymous Twitter account discovered


The former White House national security official who was fired last year after being unveiled as the snarky anonymous tweeter behind the NatSecWonk account declined to comment on Thursday about his exploits and previous accusations that another senior official leaked classified U.S. intelligence information.

The Daily Beast first reported last October that Jofi Joseph was behind the NatSecWonk Twitter account known for anonymously mocking dozens of Obama administration officials, lawmakers, and journalists, most notably Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. Joseph issued multiple tweets during the summer of 2012 suggesting that Rhodes leaked classified information to the press about the Stuxnet virus, a joint U.S.-Israeli cyber warfare program targeting Iran’s nuclear program.

"Gotta imagine Ben Rhodes is lawyering up now that a leak investigation is underway," one tweet read. "If anyone in the Obama White House leaked, it was him."

When asked by a Washington Free Beacon reporter at an Atlantic Council roundtable event on Thursday whether he could provide more evidence linking Rhodes to the Stuxnet leak, Joseph demurred.

"I’m not going to comment on that" on this panel, he said, which was discussing the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Joseph has yet to present more evidence about why he suspected Rhodes was behind the leak, and other officials such as former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright have reportedly been investigated in connection with the disclosure of classified intelligence.

Joseph told Politico last year that he "deeply regret[ted] 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," he said. "I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted."

When approached by a second Free Beacon reporter after the Atlantic Council event, Joseph again refused to comment about the Stuxnet leak but said he stood by his apology.

Foreign Policy also reported last year that Joseph was suspected to be behind the DCHobbyist Twitter account, which issued salacious tweets about sex and prostitutes.

One tweet sent to a woman advertising herself as a "luxury companion and escort" said, "I hope you know that I reminisce fondly about our date. Do let me know if you ever find your way back to DC." The DCHobbyist account was deleted almost immediately after Joseph was revealed to be NatSecWonk.

Joseph has not commented publicly on the DCHobbyist account and again refused to do so on Thursday.

"I’m not going to comment on that; I’ve already said that," he told a Free Beacon reporter after the event.

Joseph has refashioned himself as a foreign policy pundit since being fired from the White House, writing on Iran for the online journal Iran Matters.

Joseph at one point during the event expressed concerns at the event about the fact that "both [the United States and Iran] face hardliners in their respective capitals who will be pushing for more" from the current nuclear negotiations.

"Unless we reach a deal in the next few months, I have a very difficult time envisioning a diplomatic solution at any other point in the future," he said.

One attendee at the event told a Free Beacon reporter that he was not aware of Joseph’s relation to the Twitter account and the Stuxnet leak but was glad the question was asked because he was a "believer in the freedom of the press."

Daniel Wiser   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Daniel Wiser is an assistant editor of National Affairs. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2013, where he studied Journalism and Political Science and was the State & National Editor for The Daily Tar Heel. He hails from Waxhaw, N.C., and currently lives in Washington, D.C. His Twitter handle is @TheWiserChoice.

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