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Washington CNN —  

Sen. Mitt Romney says he has been secretly using a Twitter account apparently intended to monitor political discussions on social media and to defend himself.

Asked about an account attributed to user “Pierre Delecto” by The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins on Sunday night, the Utah Republican and 2012 GOP presidential nominee replied, “‘C’est moi,’” or “it’s me.” Romney explained in an Atlantic profile that he maintains a secret Twitter account, and a Slate investigation linked the Pierre Delecto account to him.

The disclosure is especially notable as Romney has emerged as President Donald Trump’s most forceful critic among Senate Republicans, particularly over the Ukraine scandal and the recent decision to pull US troops out of Syria.

The account, which was created in July 2011, has now made its messages private. Slate noted that the account replied to several Romney-related tweets and liked some others that were critical of Trump and Republicans.

In one such tweet, Slate found, Romney responded defensively to a conservative blogger at The Washington Post who said Romney’s Trump strategy was “‘was non-confrontation verging on spinelessness.’”

“‘Jennifer, you need to take a breath,’” Pierre Delecto replied. “‘Maybe you can then acknowledge the people who agree with you in large measure even if not in every measure.’”

The New York Times said a spokeswoman for the senator did not directly answer questions about Pierre Delecto but sent a link to the tweet from Coppins in which Romney acknowledged being behind the account.

CNN’s Harry Enten contributed to this report.