by Sharon Rondeau
(Dec. 26, 2022) — On Saturday, Matt Taibbi’s publishing of additional “Twitter Files” revealed the involvement of not only the FBI in Twitter’s day-to-day operations, but also the CIA and a “multi-agency Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF)” with the purported goal of identifying and removing “election tampering” and potentially “violative content.”
The lengthy thread of tweets includes screenshots of Twitter executives’ communications with government-agency personnel demonstrating “the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government – from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA,” Taibbi wrote. “The operation is far bigger than the reported 80 members of the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), which also facilitates requests from a wide array of smaller actors – from local cops to media to state governments,” he expounded in tweets #4 and 5.
References to the attendance at “regular meetings” of an “OGA,” Taibbi revealed in subsequent tweets, were to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as confirmed by Twitter attorney Stacia Cardille and others.
“The government was in constant contact not just with Twitter but with virtually every major tech firm,” Taibbi write in #16, and “These included Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest, and many others. Industry players also held regular meetings without government.”
The CIA would often provide a presentation early in the meetings, Taibbi demonstrated via a screenshot of a meeting agenda dated July 30, 2020 titled, “FITF Meeting with Twitter” from San Francisco-based FBI agent Elvis Chan to Cardille, several other Twitter employees, various FBI-branch offices and “OGA” personnel.
Much of the contact with the FBI originated with Chan, “Twitter Files” reporting established in earlier releases, and went beyond reports to Twitter of “foreign influence” to submit “mountains of domestic moderation requests” “from state governments” and “even local police,” Taibbi revealed.
The “FITF/FBI overwhelmed Twitter with requests” by referring “hundreds of problem accounts” for potential action, Taibbi revealed, citing their promotion of “misleading information” on voting and indicating Twitter’s “feedback” would be “appreciated.”
In the next tweet, Taibbi revealed that Cardille referred to the FBI, DHS and “state election officials” who submitted requests as “government partners.”
The FBI reported alleged “violations” of Twitter policies with increasing frequency, Taibbi observed, as evidenced by Cardille in a November 3, 2020 email, the day of the presidential election. Cardille was communicating with her supervisor, former FBI General Counsel James Baker, who as GC had played a pivotal role in launching the “Crossfire Hurricane” probe into the 2016 Trump campaign which dogged his presidency and yielded a 22-month Special Counsel investigation into the FBI’s allegations of Trump-campaign “collusion” with the Russian government.
The investigation, costing taxpayers tens of millions, ultimately was unable to corroborate any of the claims.
[Editor’s Note: The Post & Email will produce a final report on Taibbi’s Saturday release which interestingly relates to its own reporting before moving on to the production Monday of “TwitterFiles9.” Although Taibbi’s report followed “Twitter Files 8,” he did not assign it a number or other designation such as “Supplemental” or “Interim.”]