CIA's Instagram is following 11 accounts — nearly all of them belong to Hollywood stars

By Olivia Gazis

/ CBS News

Head of Instagram sits with Gayle King

The CIA's official Instagram account has taken the significant step — relatively speaking — of "following" other accounts on the social media platform.

As of this writing, the CIA has newly followed 11 accounts; virtually all of them belong to Hollywood celebrities.

A handful of actors who have held well-known roles as CIA officers or assets — including Jessica Chastain, Claire Danes, John Krasinski and Ben Affleck — got a follow from the agency, which, since debuting its account in April, has racked up more than 158,000 followers of its own.

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"Since many of our employee's identities cannot be revealed, the public comes to know CIA and our officers through their spy movie and television show fictional counterparts — often more 'reel' than 'real,' said CIA spokesperson Nicole De Haay. "We like to play with this 'Reel vs. Real' theme to explain how our global mission differs from big and small screen portrayals."

Instagram.com/cia

The agency created a "story" with pictures of celebrities, including Daniel Craig and Jennifer Lawrence, visiting its Virginia headquarters.

Other government agencies that have Instagram accounts — including the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense — have a more varied smattering of followed accounts. DHS, for example, follows archived versions of the Obama White House and former First Lady Michelle Obama — in addition to the current White House account.

The Air Force follows 215 accounts, among them actor Chris Pratt, the WNBA and National Geographic.

The Department of Justice follows only three accounts — the FBI, White House and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which itself follows more than 1,000 state and local police department accounts.

Among the CIA's 11 followed accounts is Irish-American actor Pierce Brosnan, who portrayed fictional British intelligence officer James Bond from 1994 to 2004. (The agency also follows an official "007" account.) The CIA did not immediately say whether its follow meant he was being endorsed as the best Bond.

First published on June 27, 2019 / 3:53 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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