Tweeters defying Trump administration on official agency accounts could be prosecuted
Reportedly unauthorized tweets made on official federal agency accounts could be prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Associated Press reports.
The tweets—including one on the Redwoods National and State Parks Twitter stream that implied that more Redwood trees would bring less climate change—are inconsistent with Trump administration policy, the Associated Press reports.
At least one tweet in question was made by former federal employee, according to the news agency. Current employees could be prosecuted as well, if they post tweets on government accounts that they shouldn’t.
“If someone says you may not tweet except in these circumstances, and you tweet in other circumstances, you’re exceeding authority,” Stewart Baker, a Steptoe & Johnson partner and former National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security official, told the AP.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if at this stage a criminal investigation was opened and criminal tools were used to investigate this, even if at the end of the day they decided not to pursue criminal charges,” Baker said.
Shortly after the presidential inauguration, transition staff changed all social media passwords for the Environmental Protection Agency, Jared Blumenfeld, an EPA official from the Obama administration, told the AP.
Since Wednesday, some of the Twitter accounts that purport to represent federal agencies but mock Trump have been linked to federal employee work emails, the AP reports.