The Twitter Files exposé is one of the biggest political, government and business scandals in decades, yet most of the media are assiduously avoiding it.
Many Americans never have heard about this whole mess, because The New York Times, Washington Post, et al have ignored this story for two weeks. Search “Twitter Files” on the Times website, and the top result is a 2013 story on Twitter filing to go public; the paper has published just one story on this, two weeks ago.
Shame on you, guys — how could you dare ignore this story? And what are you hiding?
Thousands of internal emails show how Twitter executives came to block the New York Post scoop on the Hunter Biden laptop, and silence conservative accounts at the behest of the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign, and permanently ban the account of a sitting U.S. president, Donald Trump, whom some Twitter staff likened to Hitler.
Part 1 of the #TwitterFiles dropped on Twitter on Friday night, Dec. 2, and it took two weeks to get up to Part 6, on Friday night, Dec. 16. Then Part 7 popped three days later on Monday morning, as I was writing this column.
Now we learn shocking details of how the FBI turned Twitter into its eager, supplicant conduit for conducting surveillance on American citizens so it could silence some of them.
Some 80 FBI agents on a social media SWAT team were in touch with Twitter executives for “all sorts of reasons,” reports Matt Taibbi, one of three independent journalists anointed by Twitter owner Elon Musk to shepherd the Twitter Files disclosures.
These FBI agents weren’t investigating any crime — they were monitoring Americans and muzzling, restraining or censoring even the smallest accounts, even joke Tweets, Taibbi says. At the same time, the FBI agents worked with Twitter to ensure the elevation of views they liked.
And the mainstream media, apparently, are fine with this.
Moreover, this contact continued well into the Biden administration: “over 150 emails” were swapped between Twitter’s chief censor, Yoel Roth, and FBI agents from January 2020 to November 2022. Prior restraint much?
It is a stunning and massive PSYOP by the FBI, directed at thousands of Americans as a result of their political views. This interfered with what millions of Americans saw and read on Twitter (with 41 million daily users in the U.S.), just as the 2020 election campaign was in its last lap and President Trump was running for re-election.
This is the same FBI that spent five years investigating Trump for supposed Russiagate ties. The same FBI that lied to the foreign-surveillance court, and leaked to the media, and relied on liars as witnesses, and now this.
Yet the reason for justifiable outrage over the Twitter Files has less to do with Trump and more to do with America: What happened was a violation of the Constitution and a transgression of federal law (the 1996 Communications Decency Act).
It marks an overreach by government and a terrible betrayal by a tech company that had been trusted by its users. And this must be stopped.
While the media are silent on the #TwitterFiles scandal, they howled in pain like a footballer in the World Cup last week, when Elon Musk temporarily suspended the Twitter accounts of several reporters for the Times, CNN, other outlets for violation of Twitter rules.
They ran stories on the one-day brouhaha, quoting each other’s statements about the threat to journalism and free speech. What a bunch of babies.
The FBI’s intrusive, live-in role at Twitter raises further questions. If the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security did this at Twitter, why would they stop short of doing so at Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram (all part of Meta), and Google and its YouTube platform, and Snap, and whoever else comes along?
Both political parties in Congress should investigate this.
One wonders what disclosures might come next. Say, efforts by the FBI to restrain speech debunking the COVID-19 protocols or pushing back against the Democrat narrative for the Jan. 6 “insurrection”; or an outreach to Big Media for their cooperation — maybe that is why they have left this story unnourished, hoping it will die.
The Biden administration frets that the China-based TikTok platform can be used for surveillance and manipulation by the communist Chinese government. It now is painfully clear the FBI and the U.S. government are using our most popular platforms for the same purpose.
It is time we did something about it.
Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York and host of the podcast, "What's Bugging Me." Previously, he was an anchor at CNBC and at Fox Business Network, after serving as a senior editor at The Wall Street Journal and managing editor of Forbes. Read Dennis Kneale's reports — More Here.
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