CIA Criticized for Live-Tweeting Osama Bin Laden Raid

Image: The Situation Room of the White House
ARCHIV: The image released by the White House and digitally altered by the source to obscure the details of a document in front of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at right with hand covering mouth, President Barack Obama, second from left, Vice President Joe Biden, left, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, right, and members of the national security team watch an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington in 2011.Pete Souza / dapd

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By Arjun Kharpal, CNBC

To mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, the CIA on Sunday "live-tweeted" the special forces raid on the al-Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan — a move that was slammed on social media as "inappropriate" and "distasteful."

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"Death of Usama Bin Ladin marked significant victory in US-led campaign to disrupt, dismantle, & defeat al-Qa`ida. #UBLRaid," the CIA, using an alternate spelling of the terror leader's name, wrote on Twitter. They then commenced a minute-by-minute chronicle of the mission.

Here are a few examples:

Unsurprisingly, the internet didn't react well. Many social media users denounced the stunt as a case of poor taste.

Others wondered if the agency would live-tweet other historic events.

And some questioned the agency's public relations strategy.

A CIA spokesperson defended the live-tweeting.

"The takedown of bin Laden stands as one of the great intelligence successes of all time. History has been a key element of CIA's social media efforts," CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani told ABC News.

"On the fifth anniversary, it is appropriate to remember the day and honor all those who had a hand in this achievement."

He added that the CIA has done a similar exercise to mark other events, including the Glomar operation, Argo, U-2 shootdown, and the evacuation of Saigon.