The CIA’s official Instagram account, which was launched in April, was not following any other accounts until Thursday afternoon when it began following only 11 other Instagram users — most of them Hollywood actors who have portrayed spies on the big screen, according to reports.
Those names include Melissa McCarthy, Claire Danes, Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Gardner, Bryan Cranston, Ben Affleck, Tom Hanks and Pierce Brosnan — all of whom have portrayed characters inspired by CIA agents or operatives.
The CIA’s Instagram account also followed the @007 account of fictional British intelligence officer James Bond, whom Brosnan, an Irish-American, played from 1994 to 2004, CBS News reported.
An agency spokesperson said the CIA saw “Throwback Thursday” as an opportunity to launch its Reel vs. Real initiative, which focuses on separating Hollywood myths about the agency from the reality of the work the agency carries out to protect the American public, a spokeswoman told PR Week.
"It is a way to explain our mission to the public, to show what is real and what’s not," the spokeswoman, Sara Lichterman, told PR Week. "So many of our officers’ identities can’t be revealed, so the public comes to know us through these fictional spies even though they are not necessarily who we are."
"We have a fun Instagram story up right now about different actors and actresses who have come to our headquarters," she also told PR Week. The CIA account also added a story about actors, including Jennifer Lawrence and Daniel Craig, during past visits to the agency’s headquarters, CBS News reported.
Roughly 158,000 Instagram users already followed the CIA verified account since its April 25 launch.