Recent installments of the “Twitter Files” exposed the close contact and collusion between the FBI and the social media platform, particularly with regard to censorship of posted information that the Bureau didn’t like.
The FBI has now released a statement that admitted to the substance of those revelations but also sought to spin them as no big deal and no different than what it does with other social media platforms aside from Twitter, The Federalist reported.
FBI worked with, made demands of Twitter
Last week, independent journalist Matt Taibbi posted the “Twitter Files: Part Six” thread of tweets that showed by way of internal communications how the FBI was in regular contact with top Twitter executives through private backdoor channels.
Taibbi’s thread revealed how the FBI would routinely flag certain accounts and tweets for Twitter’s attention under the expectation that the platform would dutifully take action, which it generally did.
Then there was “Twitter Files: Part Seven” from independent journalist Michael Shellenberger which also exposed collusion between the FBI and Twitter, albeit focusing on the censorship and suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Shellenberger’s thread revealed how the FBI, despite already possessing the Biden laptop and knowing it was legitimate, worked to preemptively establish a false narrative to discredit any eventual release of information about the Biden laptop as foreign misinformation. His thread also highlighted how the FBI paid Twitter $3.4 million to compensate it for its efforts on the Bureau’s behalf.
FBI essentially says “No big deal, we do this all the time with everybody”
“The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries,” the FBI said in a statement in response to the “Twitter Files” revelations. “As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers.”
That statement also included a dismissive swat against Taibbi and Shellenberger, according to Fox News, even though they did little more than publicly share the internal communications at Twitter that they were granted access to by platform owner Elon Musk.
“The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency,” the statement added.
Admissions mixed with denials
Fox News had a few additional questions that weren’t covered by the blanket statement from the bureau, such as the revelation from Shellenberger that the FBI paid Twitter $3.4 million for its compliance and cooperation.
Unnamed FBI officials downplayed the funds as nothing more than “reimbursement” for things like “reasonable costs and expenses associated with their response to a legal process … For complying with legal requests, and a standard procedure.”
Fox News noted that the officials noted further, “We don’t just reimburse Twitter,” but then refused to specify which other social media platforms had been similarly reimbursed with taxpayer money for complying with the Bureau’s demands and requests.
“While we are not able to speak to specific payments, the government is required to provide reimbursement for reasonable expenses directly related to searching for, assembling, reproducing, or otherwise providing the information responsive to the legal process,” the officials said. “This requirement is set by federal law and the courts are the final arbiters of what is reasonable compensation.”
As for the evidence showing the FBI worked with Twitter to preemptively discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story, the officials insisted, “We did not request anything of the sort,” then claimed, “We focus on activities attributed to foreign actors, not on the content or narrative,” and when pressed on the matter, added, “We did not discuss or provide instruction regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop or associated media coverage.”