New Twitter Files affirm the House Judiciary report exposing the Department of Homeland Security’s election-interfering censorship operations.
Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi dug into Twitter’s internal communications showing that the DHS played a leading role in setting up in setting up an online disinformation reporting system designed to combat election information. Taibbi’s Nov. 9 findings support those of the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government in a 104-page report released last week.
Taibbi pointed to many of the moving parts in the well-oiled Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) machine — which included DHS’s Cybersecurity, Infrastructure and Security Agency, The Standford Internet Observatory, Center for an Informed Public and The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab among other groups — that partnered with Big Tech companies to censor content. Taibbi noted that researchers at the Center for an Informed Public claimed that criticism accusing EIP of being a “government cut-out, funneling censorship requests from federal agencies to platforms” was false. Yet emails included both in the Judiciary Committee’s report and in the new Twitter Files tell a very different story.
Taibbi shared screenshots of internal emails from Twitter general Council Stacia Cardille which show her informing who appears to be fellow Twitter staff that “DHS want [sic] to establish a centralized portal for reporting disinformation or other issues on platforms so that election officials only have one place to go to report.”
A screenshot of another email shows Twitter Public Policy official Lisa Roman described a meeting “convened by DHS” that she and Cardille attended. “‘CISA received a grant to build a web portal for state and local election officials to report incidents of election-related misinformation,” she wrote, “This tool has been built in beta form.”
These comments seem to concur with those of Graham Brookie, the vice president and senior director of the Atlantic Council, who told his colleagues: “We just set up an election integrity partnership at the request of DHS/CISA,” according to screenshots included on page 39 of the the House Judiciary report.
Taibbi reiterated parts of the House Judiciary Committee’s report which showed that DHS seemed aware of its illicit role in censoring users. “[T]he Committee produced notes from a call between Facebook and DHS officials, showing the EIP created a platform for receiving complaints overseen by the quasi-private Center for Internet Security (CIS) [nonprofit] because ‘DHS cannot openly endorse the portal,’” Taibbi wrote. The notes further showed that the DHS’s CISA worked “behind-the-scenes.” As Taibbi explained, “CIS would technically be the face of the program, but CIS and CISA would receive incoming” content “at the same time.”
According to Taibbi this convoluted process concurs with Twitter Files findings. “This fit with Twitter Files documents,” he wrote. “EIP flags came with a disclaimer, saying complaints were already forwarded to CISA, which will ‘submit it to the relevant platform(s) for review,’ and to the ‘Election Integrity Partnership of Stanford University.’
As both Taibbi and the committee noted, these tickets often read like censorship requests. "We recommend Twitter remove the tweet as it is a fairly clear violation," one ticket reportedly read. "We recommend removing the following tweets as misleading," read another.
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