You may remember when, in January, a Twitter account for a national park sent out and then quickly deleted a series of tweets about climate change after President Donald Trump had reportedly muzzled the National Parks Service. Newly released documents show that the tweets were indeed the result of an ex-employee fighting back against a President who’s called climate change a hoax cooked up by the Chinese.
Internal documents related to the dustup that the NPS published last week in response to Freedom of Information Act requests show that an ex-employee, fearing a crackdown against climate change, intentionally tweeted from the account when he discovered he still had access. That individual apparently posted the tweets—then fessed up and apologized to his former employers.
The Badlands National Park account made headlines in January for tweets concerning climate change and the importance of protecting the environment. The tweets stood out in the wake of a wave of reports that the Trump administration had ordered the National Parks Service’s account to cease all activity after it retweeted some unflattering posts about President Trump and the size of his inauguration crowd.
The tweets were swiftly deleted after they were posted, however, prompting even greater speculation about what plucky government employee could have been behind them. The NPS eventually released a statement that pinned the blame on an ex-employee not authorized to use the park’s account.
“Fearing a gag order on climate science, I willfully sent out a series of tweets on the subject,” the email from the ex-employee, whose name was redacted, reads:
The ex-employee proceeded to explain that after discovering they remained logged into a tweet scheduling application, Hootsuite, connected to the Badlands account, they posted the tweets.
The ex-employee assured the agency they no longer had access to the account.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions,” the individual wrote.
Correction: The original version of this post misinterpreted the contents of the email from the former NPS parks employee. The ex-employee wrote that he inadvertently remained logged into a tweet scheduling application connected to the Badlands account, not that he accidentally posted the tweets about climate change from that application. We regret the error.