Discover more from God's Spies by Thomas Neuburger
Twitter and the CIA (Twitter Files 8–10)
The next Republican president will use every power bequeathed by the last two Democrats.
Update: For aggregated links to all Twitter files to date, click here.
“Twitter had so much contact with so many agencies that executives lost track.”
The fact of a holiday weekend has not dampened the enthusiasm of the Twitter Files team, which now includes:
Matt Taibbi (TF 1, 1a, 3, 6, 6a, 9)
Bari Weiss (TF 2, 5)
Michael Shellenberger (TF 4, 7)
Lee Fang (TF 8)
David Zweig (TF 10)
The releases have been coming fast as the team furiously reads the thousands of documents made available.
My personal worry: Changes at Twitter and a potential ouster or resignation of Elon Musk, desirable perhaps for many other reasons, will close the door to these disclosures, and close it fast. If the team isn’t racing against the clock to leverage the access they have, they ought to be.
Because those revelations are getting more and more interesting. Taibbi especially has been pulling the thread that connects Twitter — and many other social media companies — with not just domestic surveillance agencies, but the CIA.
Twitter Files 8, by Lee Fang, one of my favorite investigative journalists, looks at the way that Twitter and its executives decries state-backed information operations, which it says are “associated with misleading [and] deceptive behavior”…
…while they simultaneous enable U.S. state-sponsored operations of the same type. This happened so frequently that it almost looks like one of Taibbi’s “master-canine” relationships.
Twitter Files 9, by Matt Taibbi, is an important one. Here, the hand of the CIA is revealed. It seems that the FBI was only fronting for a whole assembly of other government security agencies, and even some local police departments, in requesting that tweets be deleted, accounts deprecated and the like.
Twitter Files 10, by another new Twitter Files researcher, David Zweig, looks at the relationship between Twitter and the Trump and Biden administrations regarding the Covid pandemic. Whatever you think of the everyone-must-be-vaccinated policy of the U.S. government — I suspect most readers agree with that policy — it’s instructive nonetheless to see the extent to which Twitter and other social media operations were aggressively roped into the messaging, censorship of doubt, and discussion of alternatives.
Yes, there was a clamping down of the yahoo-ism and thoughtless rebellion against this (or perhaps any) anti-Covid regime. But it’s still not clear that vaccine-only was the best way to go. Would vaccine-plus-contact tracing, for example, have saved more lives? We’ll never know, and the discussion was never had, at least in public.
Ask yourself, if it weren’t this administration and this message, would you approve these methods? If the government changed hands to your opponents, would you want to grant them the same intrusive power?
The fact is, by approving this level of intrusion into the public discourse now, we have already granted our opponents that same power. If you build a gun, anyone can use it, especially if its use is widely cheered.
Links to Earlier Twitter Files
Twitter Files 8, 9 & 10
Twitter Files 8 — How Twitter Quietly Aided the Pentagon’s Covert Online PsyOp Campaign
Lee Fang, December 20, 2022
An expanded version was published at The Intercept.
Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the U.S. military’s influence operation. […]
Twitter Files 9 — Twitter and “Other Government Agencies”
Matt Taibbi, December 24, 2022
Also published as “Twitter Files Thread: The Spies Who Loved Twitter” at his Substack site.
The files show 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.
2. 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.
3. Twitter had so much contact with so many agencies that executives lost track. Is today the DOD, and tomorrow the FBI? Is it the weekly call, or the monthly meeting? It was dizzying. […]
Twitter Files 10 — How Twitter Rigged the Covid Debate
David Zwieg, December 26, 2022
2. So far the Twitter Files have focused on evidence of Twitter’s secret blacklists; how the company functioned as a kind of subsidiary of the FBI; and how execs rewrote the platform’s rules to accommodate their own political desires.
3. What we have yet to cover is Covid. […]
5. Internal files at Twitter that I viewed while on assignment for @TheFP showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes. […]
As I’ve said many times about these reports, if you build a gun, anyone can use it. Especially if its use is widely cheered. This is how we repealed the Fourth Amendment — by both parties approving and participating in its violation.
The next Republican president will use every power bequeathed by the last two Democrats. And when out-of-power Democrats complain, as they rightly should, much of the public will say “So the shoe’s on the other foot.”
The public will be wrong in that. But only because no party should have these powers, not because one of them should.