Ex-CIA agent campaigns to block Trump from Twitter

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Valerie Plame Wilson, a media savvy former undercover CIA agent, has launched an improbable crowdfunding campaign to buy Twitter, in order to take away Donald Trump's favourite communications tool.

"It's time to shut him down," Plame declared in her pitch for donations on gofundme.com.

"From emboldening white supremacists to promoting violence against journalists, his tweets damage the country and put people in harm's way. But threatening actual nuclear war with North Korea takes it to a dangerous new level."

Plame's plan is simple, if unlikely to succeed: raise a billion dollars to buy a controlling interest in Twitter, and use that to pressure the social network to ban Trump.

"That's a small price to pay to take away Trump's most powerful megaphone and prevent a horrific nuclear war," she wrote.

Launched last week, Plame's campaign had raised $6,000 as of Wednesday, with individual donations of up to $100.

Trump's use of Twitter has been a near daily source of controversy. His intemperate tweets have threatened war, scalded allies and opponents alike, and at times abruptly changed the course of US policy, like one last month proclaiming a ban on transgender people serving in the US military.

The billionaire prefers to express himself on his personal account, @realDonaldTrump, over his formal presidential account @POTUS.

He has sometimes removed tweets from his own account, usually because they contain typos.

Exasperated critics note that under US law all the president's public utterances must be preserved for the record.

The White House account also has blocked certain Twitter users. Several have tried to file suit against Trump, accusing him of restricting their freedom of expression by denying them access to his account.

Plame's career as an undercover CIA officer was upended in 2003 after her husband, diplomat Joe Wilson, accused the administration of George W. Bush of lying about the threat posed by Iraq.

Administration officials retaliated by leaking Plame's secret work for the CIA, in violation of laws that make it a crime to release classified information to the press.

A White House aide was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case, but Bush later commuted his prison sentence.

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