Saturday's Twitter Files drop showed that the CIA joined the FBI in contributing to censorship on the platform.
Matt Taibbi, who has reported several file drops, wrote in a Christmas Eve thread that officials from Other Government Agency (OGA), also reportedly known as the CIA, joined other federal officials in meetings with social media platforms on censorship.
“The files show the FBI acting as the 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.
Taibbi added that one Twitter executive’s former CIA employment was an “open secret” at the company and that the operation involving the CIA and the FBI was “far bigger” than the initially reported 80-member “Foreign Influence Task Force.”
“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 wrote.
Taibbi also reported that James Baker, a former FBI lawyer turned Twitter executive, was involved in discussions about stopping alleged foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election. In July 2020, Stacia Cardille, an attorney at Twitter, wrote to Baker that the CIA was expected to attend an “Info Ops conference” at Twitter.
“I invited the FBI, and I believe that the CIA will attend virtually too,” she wrote, adding that there was “no need” for Baker to attend.
Taibbi added that the government agencies were “in constant contact not just with Twitter but with virtually every major tech firm,” including Facebook, Microsoft and Reddit.
The FBI later provided Twitter and other social media platforms with reports detailing alleged foreign interference online, but most of the reports were domestic in nature.
In November 2020, Cardille told Baker that the FBI had “folks ... just doing keyword searches for [Twitter] violations.”
Baker responded that it was “odd that they are searching for violations of our policies.”
Twitter received so many requests that the company created a system to prioritize them.
The FBI apparently constantly pressured Twitter to find instances of foreign meddling in the 2022 midterm elections. One Twitter employee wrote that he did not find any “links to Russia” after he reviewed the accounts flagged by the FBI, but said he could “brainstorm … and see if we can dig even deeper and try to find a stronger connection.”
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