Latest ‘Twitter Files’ point to CIA involvement in pressure campaign to censor speech
As part of its campaign to press social media platforms to censor speech and to exert pressure, the FBI provided Twitter site monitors access to intelligence assessments from the CIA. This is Elon Musk’s latest installment of “Twitter Files”.
Matt Taibbi (an independent journalist) revealed the latest leak that OGA officials, a common euphemism of the CIA, were present at regular meetings between federal officials, social media platforms, and previously published Twitter Files installments.
“The FBI acts as the doorman for a vast program in social media surveillance, censorship and censorship that encompasses agencies across the federal government – from the State Department through the Pentagon to CIA,” Mr. Taibbi wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread on Christmas Eve.
He wrote that the main outcome was that thousands upon thousands of official reports’ flowed to Twitter via the FITF’s San Francisco branch office.
Elvis Chan, FBI assistant special agent in San Francisco cyber branch, sent an invite to a “FITF meeting with Twitter” in August 2020. It showed two people identified as OGA officials.
In several emails from 2020, Mr. Chan also mentioned OGA briefings about the “Russia Status” in several emails. These emails previewed agendas of meetings between the FITF (and Twitter) and were previewed by Mr. Chan.
According to several former intelligence officers and contractors, OGA, or ‘Other Government Organization’, can be a euphemism of CIA. “Chuckles one”: “They think it is mysterious, but it’s only conspicuous.”
Other emails showed that FBI and Twitter officials spoke more explicitly about the CIA.
In July 2020, Stacia Cardille, a Twitter attorney, wrote to James Baker (an ex-FBI lawyer and Twitter executive) that the CIA was to attend an “Info Ops” conference.
She said, “I invited FBI and I believe that CIA will also attend virtually.”
Later documents reveal that the FBI sent intelligence reports to Twitter, drawing attention from Twitter site monitors in order to evaluate foreign interference campaigns on social networks.
These reports were also shared on Twitter, Yahoo!, Twitch., Cloudfare. LinkedIn.
“Former CIA agent John Kiriakou believes he recognizes these reports,” Mr. Taibbi wrote. Kiriakou said that it “looks right on to him,” noting that ‘what was cut above [the tearline] was the originating CIA Office and all the copied offices.
Officials warned that Russian platforms were trying to “denigrate French President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign” in April 2022. This was before France’s presidential runoff elections.
Another report showed an overview of the “Ukraine Neo-Nazi Propaganda”, which was spread online in February this year.
Other reports contained lists of tweets, YouTube videos and newspapers that were deemed to be propagating “anti-Ukraine narratives” by government officials.
Some reports contained lists of accounts that were deemed to belong to U.S. adversaries.
“Many people wonder whether Internet platforms get direction from intelligence agencies regarding moderation of foreign-policy news stories,” Mr. Taibbi wrote. “It seems that Twitter did in some cases through the FITF/FBI.”
Twitter Files’ latest drop further exposes the extent to which FBI collaborated with the platform in order to moderate speech.
According to internal communications, the FBI raised concerns about certain posts that were related to the 2020 election and sought action from Twitter employees.
Teleporter is a back-channel reporting tool that flagged these posts. This allows communication between employees of agencies and Twitter users to be automatically canceled.
Mr. Taibbi’s latest installment notes that the FBI/FITF overloaded Twitter with requests as they approached 2020. They sent lists of hundreds of problematic accounts and sent them numerous requests.
Ms. Cardille shared with Mr. Baker in an email exchange of November 2020, that she noted that FBI “folks” at the Baltimore field office and HQ were only doing keyword searches for violations.
M. Baker said that it was strange that they were looking for violations of our policies.
Another internal email shows that Twitter employees struggle to confirm the FBI’s claim of foreign interference through specific accounts.
One Twitter employee stated that he could not find “links with Russia” after looking at accounts. He offered to “brainstorm… and see how we can dig deeper and try to locate a stronger connection.”
This latest installment follows news releases that show the platform’s left-leaning bias. These include the suppression of news reports on Hunter Biden’s laptop computer, censorship of conservative perspectives and the permanent ban of then-President Trump from this platform following the attack on the U.S Capitol Jan. 6, 2021.
These revelations have sparked a furious firestorm on Capitol Hill. They have also prompted a House Republican investigation into whether the FBI was involved in censoring conservative speech online or other abuses of federal power.
Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is the incoming Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He stated that Twitter’s internal documents raise concerns that “the FBI maintained these relationships with Twitter apart from any particularized requirement for a specific investigation but as a permanent surveillance operation.”
In a Friday letter to Christopher A. Wray, he stated that “from disclosed Twitter documents and public information, it is evident the FBI worked extensively to advance censorship for certain speech on Twitter.” These revelations reinforce our deep concern about the FBI’s misconduct, and its hostility towards the First Amendment.