The Canadian spy agency's first-ever tweet in mid-July—a resounding success with over a thousand retweets and 1,400 likes—was one of many ideas thrown around by staff before they landed on, "Yes, we're on Twitter. Now it's your turn to follow us."
Three other tweets were also suggested, but never saw the light of day:
"So, we're on Twitter. #WhatWeDoWednesday may be a challenge for us."
"(redacted) Yes (redacted) (redacted) we're (redacted) on (redacted) (redacted) Twitter. #LearningCurve"
"In honour of Twitter launching 10 years ago this month, we suddenly decided to join. #LateToTheParty"
The scope of potential first tweets was obtained by VICE News through an access to information request.
One staffer suggested that the department have a quick internal competition for those crucial 140 characters, adding that it "might be a bit of a morale booster and a way to engage staff from across the organization." The staffer, whose name has been redacted, then went on to propose 13 of their own ideas.
"For your consideration (and yes, we're going full Canadian here)," the email said, before suggesting tweets like: "Sorry, we have to tweet now," "In the spirit of transparency, sorry terrorists and spies, we're coming for you," "An online double double of national security," and "Terrorists shaken, spies stirred."
Staffers also looked at the first tweets sent out by the CIA ("We can not confirm or deny this is our first tweet"); the Communications Security Establishment ("We were into quantum computing before the Prime Minister made it cool"); and the Government Communications Headquarters in the UK ("Hello world.")
CSIS Director Michael Coulombe said in a statement when the account was launched that his agency recognized that a "modern organization needs to communicate using modern means," and that a key part of its vision was communicating its role to Canadians.
"Speaking publicly on the nature of our work isn't always easy, but we want CSIS to be more accessible and want to help the public understand more about our work," he said. "Joining Twitter is one step in strengthening dialogue with Canadians."
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