recommended reading

Obama Scooped by Iranian President's Tweet

President Obama and the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani had a phone call on Friday. The discussion was, it seems, substantial: Among its topics was Iran's nuclear program. But the content of the conversation was only one thing that made the call a big deal; even more significant was the fact that any conversation took place at all. The talk marked the first direct communication between a U.S. president and an Iranian president since 1979, when the Islamic Republic was installed and the Shah ousted and the diplomatic relations between the two countries all but severed. The talk itself -- the gesture of it, the meaning of it -- was, in other words, big news. 

Which was why President Obama called a press conference to announce the conversation to the media. "Just now I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani," Obama told convened reporters. The call, he added, "underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but also indicates the prospect of moving on that difficult history."

Again: big news! Except that the call was not news to many of the people who were gathered to hear it. Minutes before Obama began his speech, today at 3:35 pm Eastern time, Hassan Rouhani, via his (unverified) English-language Twitter account, tweeted the following (screen-shotted by Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski):

Six small words, one huge announcement. But the image here is a screenshot because, moments after posting it, the Iranian president deleted the tweet. (Or, perhaps more accurately, the person manning the Iranian president's unverified Twitter account deleted the tweet.) 

But it was too late. The tweet, its tweeter having been followed by many members of the American media in the lead up to this week's will-they-shake-hands-at-the-UN-or-won't-they discussions, filled the feeds of reporters around the country. Retweets were posted, exclamations offered, screenshots produced. Did Rouhani just scoop the American president? Did the expected handshake come as a phone call, and did the phone call get announced via a tweet?

Seems that way, yes. Which is a nice little lesson in contemporary diplomacy: Even world leaders can get twitchy fingers. And, as a result, news of a conversation that's been 33 years in the making can be scooped in a second. 

This story originally appeared at TheAtlantic.com.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.