Washington - It just got even easier for the CIA to "follow" people.
The US intelligence service has joined the short message service Twitter. It can now send out 140-character-long messages into the Twitter sphere, but it also is able to follow other agencies, politicians and people who use the service.
"We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet," read the CIA's first tweet, using typical spook-speak. Within minutes it was retweeted to other users more than 32,000 times. Even more impressive, the agency garnered more than 80,000 followers shortly after its Twitter debut.
A number of news outlets enjoyed the CIA's cleverly worded debut tweet and found their own humorous turn of phrase in response.
"Now we can finally return the favor and follow you too," the Huffington Post tweeted.
"The only time you'll know the CIA is following you," retorted the Washington Post.
"There's no hiding from the @CIA now," wrote Time magazine.
As of Friday afternoon the CIA was following 25 other Twitter users, including the FBI, NASA, the White House and the US Department of Defence.
The White House apparently has no objection to the CIA joining Twitter. President Barack Obama's National Security Council, which also is on Twitter, greeted the CIA on Twitter with the tweet "Welcome to Twitter, @CIA!"