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FBI Director James Comey? Or @projectexile7 on Twitter?

Social Cues: Comey is the FBI director on the street. Is he @projectexile7 in tweets?

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Social Cues is our look at what people are talking about across Twitter and Facebook.

CNET

So much for FBI agents staying hidden and undercover.

People on Twitter swarmed the account @projectexile7 after a Gizmodo reporter connected a series of digital dots to discover what is alleged to be FBI Director James Comey's secret Twitter handle. The handle, which has never tweeted until Thursday, has experienced an explosion in followers since the article came out.

Gizmodo's Ashley Feinberg conducted the web-sleuthing after the FBI chief noted he had secret Twitter and Instagram accounts while speaking at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance leadership dinner on Wednesday night. After following the trail, she landed at the Twitter account @projectexile7, apparently named after a federal program that Comey helped create in 1997.

Of course, there's no direct confirmation it's actually Comey's account. The FBI politely declined to comment in an email.

Still, the coincidences add up. Among the most telling: The majority of the account's 39 likes are related to either Comey or the FBI.

Shortly after the theory was published, interactions with the account ballooned with thousands of people tweeting at what is potentially the FBI director's secret Twitter account.

The account is named after Reinhold Niebuhr, who former President Barack Obama considered among his favorite theologians. People on Twitter are @-ing the account to ask if it's really Comey, while others are looking through his follows and likes.

@projectexile7 follows a modest 27 accounts. But they include President Donald Trump and the FBI. The account also follows The Onion because even secret, possible G-men like to laugh.

The account, which was created using a personal Gmail account, has gone private since the Gizmodo report.

After the outing, @projectexile7 changed its avatar from a Twitter egg to another anonymous figure, with the outlines of a head and a body. It also sent its first and only tweet, with a photo of Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy and a link to FBIjobs.gov.

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Screenshot by Alfred Ng/CNET

First published March 30, 3:20 p.m. PT.
Update, March 31, 9:39 a.m. PT: Added @projectexile7's first tweet.

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