As we’ve previously reported, there have been a lot of blockbuster revelations from the Twitter files. But perhaps one of the most interesting was the revelation in the last set that the office of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca), the head of the House Intelligence Committee for the 117th Congress, tried to get journalist Paul Sperry banned from Twitter.
Schiff’s office claimed that Sperry was pushing “QAnon conspiracies” and had harassed a staffer.
27.They also received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn’t like to be banned. Here, the office for Democrat and House Intel Committee chief Adam Schiff asks Twitter to ban journalist Paul Sperry: pic.twitter.com/SXI1ekqi13
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 3, 2023
Of course, that isn’t a justification for trying to shut down Sperry’s rights and suppress his speech, even if that were true. But it was a lie, on top of it all. And the request revealed what the true reason for the effort was, when they ask Twitter to “remove any and all content about Mr. Misko and other Committee staff from its service — to include quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content.”
Sperry wrote a story that drew Schiff’s anger–that sources had told him about two White House staffers discussing in 2017 how to remove President Donald Trump from office. The two people, according to the story? Eric Ciaramella and Sean Misko. Ciaramella was the alleged “whistleblower” in the first impeachment, and this story thus raised questions about bias on his part. Misko, who was an Obama holdover in the Trump administration, later joined Schiff’s staff.
Here’s what Sperry wrote:
“Just days after he was sworn in they were already talking about trying to get rid of him,” said a White House colleague who overheard their conversation.
“They weren’t just bent on subverting his agenda,” the former official added. “They were plotting to actually have him removed from office.”
So, it’s easy to see why Sperry was targeted — he was shining a light on things that Schiff’s office didn’t want people to see.
Sperry responded by blasting Schiff’s actions, “How is a Congressional leader demanding the banning of a veteran journalist from the nation’s digital town square not state censorship?”
“Here’s the real reason House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff secretly lobbied Twitter to have me banned — he was angry I outed his anonymous impeachment ‘whistleblower,’” Sperry said.
But now, Sperry is looking to hold Schiff accountable. He announced that he was exploring all his legal options, “including suing Adam Schiff personally for defamation.”
DEVELOPING: We are exploring all legal options, including suing @AdamSchiff personally for defamation
— Paul Sperry (@paulsperry_) January 6, 2023
Now, the defamation suit is interesting, since they would have the letter from Schiff’s office and they wouldn’t have to prove the follow-through that the suspension was because of Schiff.
Sperry was offered other suggestions on social media, such as a Bivens action. In a Bivens action, you have a lawsuit for damages involving “a federal officer who is acting in the color of federal authority allegedly violates the U.S. Constitution by federal officers acting.”
The question about showing a violation might be a question, if you have to follow through to proving Schiff’s office was what ultimately got Sperry’s account suspended; Twitter initially said no, we won’t do it. He was however subsequently suspended. So, the question is: what happened in the interim and were there further conversations with Schiff’s office or any other pressure?
However, a legal matter like this would be great fun, as Sperry could uncover all kinds of other communications in discovery that could be very bad for Schiff, including anything that might relate to Ciaramella and Misko. Can you imagine opening up that Pandora’s box? Schiff would split a gut and that could truly out everything that they were trying to suppress.
So, if I had anything to say to Paul Sperry, it would be, oh, yes, please!
Here’s a little more from Matt Taibbi on the subject with Aaron Mate on “The Jimmy Dore Show.”