The FBI issued its first public reaction to the Twitter Files on Wednesday, dismissing the journalistic expose of the agency's ties to Twitter as "misinformation" that hasn't shed any new light on its activities.
Despite new evidence that the FBI regularly pressured Twitter to censor information, the agency's breathless statement attacked the Twitter Files as fodder for "conspiracy theorists."
As the FBI would tell it, documents showing casual back-and-forth between top Twitter executives and FBI agents reflect "nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding" partnerships with the private sector.
Without actually saying "there's nothing to see here," the FBI basically said just that, using the pretext that their high-level correspondence was just about keeping the public safe. They angrily accused "conspiracy theorists" of "attempting to discredit" the FBI.
“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," the statement read.
“The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public,” the statement concluded. “It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”
Many would say the agency has done plenty to discredit itself over the past six years, beginning with its role in the Russian collusion hoax in 2016 and extending to the political intimidation of Trump supporters in the Biden era.
As of 2020, the FBI had developed a cozy relationship with Twitter, as Matt Taibbi described in Part 6 of the Twitter Files. Agents regularly contacted Twitter with requests to scrutinize accounts spreading "misinformation," including low-follower users cracking jokes.
In response to Taibbi, the FBI told Fox News that agents never actually told Twitter to take action, but Taibbi noted the "master-canine" tone of the FBI's messages, one of which began curtly, "Hello Twitter contacts."
"FBI San Francisco is notifying you of the below accounts which may potentially constitute violations of Twitter's Terms of Service for any action or inaction deemed appropriate within Twitter policy," the message read.
Twitter's payroll was also loaded with former FBI agents who had their own Slack channel, Michael Shellenberger reported in Part 7 of the Twitter Files, which delves into the FBI's efforts to discredit the Hunter Biden story.
The FBI told Fox they did not give "specific instructions or details regarding the Hunter Biden laptop story," but Shellenberger noted that the agency repeatedly pressured Twitter to be vigilant about foreign "disinformation" without any real evidence to back up those concerns.
Elvis Chan, the bureau's middleman with Twitter, admitted in a deposition that agents "did not see any similar competing intrusions to what had happened in 2016."
The company's former Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth, a top player in driving censorship, said the FBI warned about a "hack and leak" targeting Hunter Biden prior to the 2020 election, although in reality, the FBI had possession of Hunter Biden's laptop the whole time.