President Donald Trump reportedly was “directly involved” in the hunt to find the Tweeter who used the official National Park Service account in order to expose the much smaller crowd who attended Trump’s inauguration than former President Obama’s 2009 ceremony.
The famous tweet contained the side by side photo of the two crowds that quickly went viral prompting the bizarre first press briefing by newly minted White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who insisted that the crowd that witnessed Trump take the oath of office was the largest crowd ever to witness such an inauguration.
The tweet was quickly deleted and the Twitter accounts of the National Park Service along with other U.S. Interior Department agencies were shut down for a brief time. However, in an email to CBS News, Spicer denied that the White House had either demanded the tweet to be deleted, or had ordered the Twitter accounts to be suspended.
But emails which were released by the National Park Service in response to a Freedom of Information Act request paint a different picture, according to CBS. They reveal that the President was “concerned” about the tweet.
“Obviously, this has become a very sensitive issue, especially since the President has gotten directly involved and contacted Acting Director Mike Reynolds concerned about one of the images that was retweeted,” wrote Time Cash, Chief Digital Strategy at the National Park Service in an email on January 21 to Shawn Cavanaugh, the Chief Information Security Officer for the agency, which was first reported by the news site MuckRock.
The response to the FOIA request also contains a memo which details the lengths to which the Natioanl Partk Service went in order to track down the person who was responsible for the tweet.
“We traced the IP address used for the two questionable posts to an ISP in the San Bruno, Calif., area and checked all possible NPS social media points of contacts in that area,” one staff member wrong in the brief.
Originally, the agency “suspected that this incident was an accidental cross-posting from a personal Twitter account (this has happened on multiple occasions in the past with other NPS social media accounts).” However, the agency later became concerned that the account was compromised.
Aerial photos show that substantially fewer people attended Trump’s inauguration than former President Obama’s initial ceremony.
— Binyamin Appelbaum (@BCAppelbaum) January 20, 2017