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U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and others watch the "situation on ground in Abbottabad live in Situation Room." (Photo: CIA/Twitter)

U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and others watch the "situation on ground in Abbottabad live in Situation Room." (Photo: CIA/Twitter)

'Rewriting History' in 140 Characters as CIA Live Tweets Bin Laden Assassination

Stunt backfires as critics seize upon the public relations move to raise renewed questions about the accuracy of the spy agency's narrative.

Lauren McCauley

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was pilloried on Sunday for its decision to mark the 5th anniversary of the 2011 raid and killing of Osama bin Laden by "live-tweeting" the operation "as if it were happening today."

Beginning at 1:25 EDT, using the hashtag #UBLRaid (referring to the alternate spelling, "Usama"), the CIA reiterated its account of the May 2 raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

But the stunt quickly backfired as journalists and other critics of the controversial operation seized upon the public relations move to raise renewed questions about the accuracy of the spy agency's narrative.

Responding to the CIA update that at 3:39 pm EDT "Usama Bin Ladin found on third floor and killed #UBLRaid," The Intercept senior editor Peter Maass retorted: "Pity the 140 character limit on Twitter got in way of @CIA saying more about the 'found and killed' part."

Thousands of comments were left on the tweets, as activists and others joined in the rebuke. 

Sarah Dougherty, senior fellow at the anti-torture program with Physicians for Human Rights quipped that the #UBLraids tweets are a "more direct approach to pushing 'torture works' lie than its usual route of using Hollywood," referring to the Academy Award winning film Zero Dark Thirty, which was widely criticized for embracing the CIA narrative.

And Comedy Central's Daily Show tweeted: "If you live tweet the Bay of Pigs invasion, call us. Otherwise, stop it."


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