CSIS Wins This Week’s Edition of ‘The Intern Did It’

In what’s becoming a relatively common occurrence, the CSIS or Center for Strategic and International Studies posted a widely-seen tweet this week that just screamed “this did not go how it was supposed to go.”

We weren’t terribly surprised by this response; nor were we surprised to see an apology tweet later.

What did impress us, though, was the degree of detail in the organization’s official explanation.

From the release:

“[The tweet] was sent by a CSIS intern who had access to our account for monitoring purposes. The intern wrongly assumed that this tweet was being sent from his personal account when in fact it was sent while logged in to CSIS’s twitter account. The views expressed are abhorrent and appropriate action will be taken at CSIS to address the matter internally.

We at CSIS are embarrassed by this unfortunate situation and would like to put on record that this tweet does not reflect the views of anyone at CSIS or the institution as a whole. CSIS has apologized to Amnesty directly for this unacceptable breach of professional conduct. Social media processes are now being reviewed at CSIS so a situation such as this does not reoccur.”

We feel like this statement could be boilerplate for so, so many “what the hell was that” tweets sent from official accounts in recent years.

That said, the fact that CSIS is all about defending the United States’ own interests and activities abroad makes it somewhat hard to believe that no one at the organization shares this relatively common opinion. As Andrea Peterson at The Washington Post put it:

“…members of the public might be forgiven for thinking that the intern who was said to be behind the problem had simply made the mistake of expressing what those on the inside actually think.”

If this intern did not agree with the org’s ideological mission, then why would they hire him in the first place?

Also: can a slip-up like this one really be prevented unless the org stops giving log-in info to interns?