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The FBI’s conduct in its relationship with Twitter has been laid bare over the past two episodes of the Twitter Files. Journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger revealed that the Bureau deployed more than 60 agents to monitor and flag accounts and tweets on the platform and assist Twitter’s censorship brigade in getting them removed from the site.
The latest thread published by Shellenberger on Monday explained how the Bureau worked with Twitter to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story. In what was called a “proactive” approach to addressing the spread of the story, the agency cautioned the folks at Twitter about a Russia-sponsored “hack and leak” operation.
Agent Elvis Chan, a key character in this story, seemed intent on pushing Twitter’s employees to find evidence of foreign propaganda efforts, especially coming from Moscow, even after being repeatedly told that this was not an issue. RedState’s Joe Cunningham reported:
Then, the FBI gave information on a Russian hacking group to Roth, and that seems to have influenced his future decision-making on the Hunter Biden laptop story. Again, this is all without evidence that any such dump of information on the laptop was a Russian operation. This seems more and more like an attempt to make Roth believe that anything that was about to come out was Russian disinformation. A lot of effort to undermine what we now know was a very credible story.
As a result, Twitter’s former cybersecurity head Yoel Roth was essentially primed to take action against the Hunter Biden story when it was published by the New York Post. This, in large part, explains why the social media company prevented users from sharing the story, which was clearly damaging to then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign.
What is even more galling is the fact that the Bureau actually paid Twitter $3.4 million to process the agency’s requests and to answer their questions. This means taxpayers funded the company as it collaborated with the Bureau to crack down on American accounts under the guise of rooting out foreign propaganda and criminal activity.
46. The FBI’s influence campaign may have been helped by the fact that it was paying Twitter millions of dollars for its staff time.
“I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!” reports an associate of Jim Baker in early 2021. pic.twitter.com/SmNse97QxK
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
This is one of a lengthy series of corrupt acts on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and there will be absolutely no consequences for the agency’s actions. Indeed, the FBI stepped about as close as it could get without blatantly violating the First Amendment with impunity. This is because its agents know they won’t get so much as a slap on the wrist for this behavior.
President Joe Biden is unconcerned with the fact that the FBI is politically biased. Indeed, he likely prefers it this way as long as the agency is attacking his opponents. Democrats in Congress feel the same way.
But, you might be thinking, won’t things be different when the GOP retakes the House of Representatives?
Of course, it will.
When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his intrepid band of Republican lawmakers are back in charge, you can be sure that they will get in front of the camera and shout irate condemnations of the Bureau’s conduct. They will write strongly-worded letters and pronouncements describing how awful these agents are for using taxpayer funds to silence speech. They will make appearances on Fox News and assure the audience that they will get to the bottom of the matter.
If we’re lucky, they may even haul some of the members of Twitter’s prior leadership in front of Congress to give them a stern talking-to. The scolding will be epic, dear reader.
And in the end, Republicans will do absolutely nothing to prevent the FBI from doing this again. Indeed, there won’t even be a pause in these operations. If they were willing to do this with Twitter, how much more are they doing it with YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites?
By the time there is a Republican president in the White House in 2024 – assuming the GOP doesn’t snatch defeat from the ever-widening jaws of victory – the matter will be long forgotten, which means the FBI will remain free to continue targeting Americans willy-nilly, without fear of reprisal.