The CIA has joined Twitter and seems to be adopting a public image on social media that is much more friendly and personable than you would imagine.
Forget about spying on the Russians or Al-Qaeda, detecting terrorism or hunting down drug traffickers – the CIA has spent its first month on the 140-character social network telling jokes, making fun of its image in popular culture, answering questions and even appealing to history nuts, tech geeks and conspiracy theorists.
They also made a US government agency first by finally admitting that UFO activity reported in the 1950s was actually just them:
Even better, they've filmed a "VIP tour" of the CIA headquarters compound hosted by a CIA intelligence dog and uploaded it to YouTube:
There's also some retro tech being showcased:
And some historic moments that don't make the CIA look bad:
Apart from answering users' questions and sharing content, the CIA also announced in its first month on Twitter that it would be holding its first-ever public conference at Georgetown University in Washington DC and broadcasting it live on the web at the same time for viewers everywhere to watch.
During the conference on 11 June, CIA director John Brennan said: "We must engage our fellow citizens...to explain the work we perform on their behalf and articulate our motives, values and objectives."
From all the quotes tweeted from the conference, one message seems clear: the CIA seems to have decided to shed its stuffy, secretive image, and feels that it would rather have the public (both in the US and elsewhere) on its side, as it can't cope with "the plethora of 21st century transnational threats on its own".
Translation: the CIA wants to be your friend.
Former CIA director Richard Helms said at the conference: