A now-suspended Twitter account pretended to belong to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
Some White House comms officials were duped into following the account, The Daily Beast reported.
Twitter suspended the account for violating its impersonation policy after The Daily Beast reached out.
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Some White House officials were duped into following a fake Twitter account that appeared to belong to the Biden administration’s top spy, The Daily Beast reported Monday.
A now-deleted Twitter account with the handle @WRLD46 pretended to belong to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, the first woman to serve as US intelligence director.
It featured her photo and name, the blueprint of the White House banner used by other Biden administration officials, and biography reading, “@WhiteHouse Director of National Intelligence #Team46.” But the account lacked a blue verification checkmark.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed to The Daily Beast that the account is fake. A spokesperson for the National Security Council also noted to The Daily Beast that the account also followed them Monday afternoon.
According to The Daily Beast, the account only retweeted daily activities of the Biden administration and liked and followed accounts belonging to verified officials and national political journalists.
Twitter later suspended the account for violating its impersonation policy after The Daily Beast reached out for comment, but not before duping several officials on the White House communications team into following it. The Beast reported that Khanya Brann (special assistant to the communications director), Rachel Palermo (assistant press secretary to the vice president), former junior deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo, and Amanda Finney (chief of staff to the White House press office), were among the accounts that followed the fake account.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the fake Haines account, but The Daily Beast reported that “the first accounts to mention it all appear to be associated with a 17-year-old self-styled India-based ‘business tycoon, investor, engineer, and philanthropist,’ according to a dubiously fattened bio.”
The account, which remained unnamed because it belonged to a minor, branded itself as a “Brand Ambassador” for the White House, according to The Daily Beast report.
Representatives from the White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Haines Twitter impersonator wasn’t the first time White House officials were fooled into believing a fake account. Late last year, 21-year-old Josh Hall, a Trump supporter from Pennsylvania, made a fake Twitter account impersonating several political figures and their family members, including five relatives of former President Donald Trump.
Hall posted from a fake account appearing to belong to Elizabeth Trump Grau, Trump’s sister, to publicly back the former president’s fight in overturning the election results – and even Trump was duped into thinking the account was real, The New York Times reported last December.
“Thank you Elizabeth,” Trump tweeted. “LOVE!”
The 21-year-old Trump fan said there was “no nefarious intention behind” creating the fake accounts and that he was “just trying to rally up MAGA supporters and have fun.”
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