The CIA’s official Twitter account posted an odd quote in Russian, apparently from the writer Boris Pasternak, who is most famous for writing Doctor Zhivago and for being barred by the Soviet Union from accepting his Nobel Prize for literature.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the @CIA acount posted the quote, which appeared in Cyrillic characters and, according to Google Translate, means: “I wrote the novel in order for it to be published and read , and it remains my only desire -Pasternak”
An Internet search also didn’t clear up the origin of the quote or whether it came from Pasternak or not.
All of Washington has been on high alert for Twitter hackings after the account associated with the military’s U.S. Central Command - @Centcom - was hacked on Monday, apparently by sympathizers of ISIS.
But in this case, it was just a tease by @CIA, which a thirty-two minutes later, posted, “CIA’s book program kept a critical mass of intellectuals in the Soviet Bloc informed abut the values &culture of the free world. #Zhivago.”
Read more from the Wilson Center about the CIA’s covert Cold War book program.
The CIA as an agency is notoriously secret, but the social media team behind @CIA has shown itself to have a sense of humor, often making jokes about secrecy, and engaging, with Tweets about items from the CIA’s archives of spy paraphernalia and documents.
For instance, back in July they Tweeted, “No we don’t know where Tupac is. #twitterversary”
They haven’t yet tweeted quite as much about more timely matters, like the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the Bush-era torture practices by the CIA.
Although they did put out this fact sheet on the torture program back in December.