Twitter Files: The FBI Wants Answers

Twitter Files: The FBI Wants Answers

Twitter Files: The FBI Wants Answers

It should be a given on both sides of the aisle that having the FBI being super chummy with the “trust and safety” team at Twitter was a BAD idea. But the left is apparently all in on the idea that the companies who run social media should be answerable to the federal government, because so long as they hold the power, then all is well.

Which leads us to an addendum to the Twitter Files that journalist Matt Taibbi released last evening. In this series of tweets, we discover that the FBI could get quite pissy when Twitter wasn’t finding what they wanted. The major player in these tweets seems to be FBI Agent Elvis Chan, out of San Francisco, who seems to have been former “trust and safety” head Yoel Roth’s “handler.” Apparently, when the FBI was told by Twitter that they weren’t seeing anything from “official propaganda actors” in the summer of 2020, it upset the “intelligence community.”

Notice what the “intelligence community” was looking specifically for, listed under “References” – COVID-19 information in languages other than English, and potential Russian interference in the 2020 election. Why is the FBI involved in this? Why would the Department of Homeland Security, or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, be wanting to know about what COVID-19 information was being discussed in other languages in other countries? And notice also that lumped in with “foreign state” and “official propaganda” is “white supremacist actors.” There’s no open investigation that the FBI, or DHS, or ODNI is conducting. They just wanted Twitter to be an extension of their eyes and ears. And when management replied that they didn’t see anything unusual, they wanted ANSWERS, DAMMIT.

Yoel Roth, who was more than happy to work hand-in-glove with the FBI regarding Donald Trump, comes across as confused and a little freaked out about just how pushy the Bureau was getting – and that they wanted answers IN WRITING. After all, Roth was trying to keep those FBI meetings off the books, remember?

Again, Yoel Roth was on a first name basis with an FBI agent. That should raise all sorts of concerns from both sides of the aisle, and why the FBI was using Twitter to be their snoop, but Representative Ted Lieu of California sees no issue with what was going on.

Ted Lieu apparently has the memory recall of a fruit fly. His main concern right now is OMG JOURNALISTS GOT SUSPENDED (in what someone, in all seriousness, tried to call the “Thursday Night Massacre” on Wikipedia because nothing matters so much as their feewings). He has been having a bit of a spat with Matt Taibbi, complaining that Taibbi was focusing on the FBI’s lack of a sense of humor and getting Twitter to go after accounts that told jokes, and insisting that the FBI was able to walk and chew gum at the same time – namely, that the FBI could still investigate crimes AND be a Twitter killjoy at the same time. When Taibbi pushed back, Lieu simply insists that Twitter “favors conservatives.” He won’t answer the question as to WHY the FBI is so snuggly close to Twitter and all up in its business, trying to censor people.

Well, months ago it was reported that Twitter was hiring a whole lot of former FBI agents.

And this was before Elon Musk bought the company and the Twitter Files began coming out. Now, the New York Post is confirming this hiring spree.

More than a dozen former feds flocked to the company in the months and years prior to Elon Musk’s purchase of the social network in October.”

In some cases, the former G-men and -women held positions that would have put them close to company leadership directly involved in censoring The Post’s Hunter Biden coverage in October 2020.”

Matthew Williams spent more than 15 years with the FBI, working mostly out of Seattle, where he served most recently as an intelligence program manager and senior supervisory intelligence analyst.”

Williams joined Twitter in June 2020 — the same month as Baker — as a “senior director of product trust,” according to his LinkedIn. In June 2022 he moved into a more expansive position as “senior director of product trust, revenue policy, counsel systems & analytics at Twitter.” He noted this made him “co-lead of Trust & Safety.”

Dawn Burton, a former federal prosecutor who served as deputy chief of staff to FBI boss James Comey, joined Twitter in September 2019 as director of strategy and operations and counsel organization, according to her LinkedIn and Bloomberg.”

As a Comey insider, Burton would have been close to the agency’s Hillary Clinton email investigation as well as it’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections She continued to serve in her role after Comey’s ouster in May 2017 and the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”

Jeff Carlton worked for the FBI, CIA and as an intelligence officer for the US Marines before joining Twitter in May 2021. His now deleted LinkedIn account says he led “Twitter’s Strategic Response Team of 50+ employees/agents in resolving the highest-profile Trust & Safety escalation,” which served to promote “healthy public conversations.”

Kevin Michelena did more than 12 years as an FBI intelligence analyst before coming to Twitter to work as a “Senior Corporate Security Analyst” in July 2021.”

Among his responsibilities were to “Partner with Software Engineering to create and optimize security products” and “Collaborate with public policy and site integrity leads to ensure policies are properly implemented, which has mitigated risk to users from identified threat actors,” according to his LinkedIN, which has since been heavily redacted.”

Michael Bertrand spent 23 years with the FBI working in counterterrorism, internal investigations and as chief of staff to the agency’s top leaders. He joined Twitter in January.”

Bertrand, an attorney, was responsible for “proactively and reactively lead[ing] teams to assess and manage global incidents and crises affecting Twitter’s employees, offices and reputation,” according to his LinkedIN.”

Karen Walsh spent more than 20 years at the FBI as a special agent focused on “Public-Private Sector Outreach.” She joined Twitter as director of corporate resilience in March 2020.”

Doug Hunt joined Twitter as a “senior director” after spending 20 years with the FBI as a supervisory special agent. Vincent Lucero also did more than two decades in the same role before joining Twitter in July 2019 as a “Senior Security Manager.”

Mark Jaroszewski became a director of corporate security in August 2018 after doing his own two decades as a supervisory special agent with the FBI. In a 2018 FBI press release the agency noted his job was “focused on helping the FBI create strategic, mutually beneficial relationships with the private sector.”

Wow. That’s an awful lot of foxes in the henhouse. It’s little wonder that Twitter essentially turned into an extension of the FBI – so many people with power at the company got their jobs BECAUSE of their FBI backgrounds. So when the FBI started “meeting” with Yoel Roth, the groundwork had already been laid at the company to follow whatever the FBI said. Not because the Bureau was explicitly ordering Twitter to do something, but because so many former federal employees had moved over there to make sure that whatever the FBI wanted, the FBI got – no explicit instructions necessary. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.

Here’s an honest question for Elon Musk, aside from the poll he is currently taking about remaining the CEO of Twitter – how many of these former FBI agents are still Twitter employees? We know a whole lot of the company got let go almost immediately, but Yoel Roth didn’t. Jim Baker didn’t until later. Just how many of these former feds are still collecting a paycheck from Elon Musk, while still keeping their lines of communication open with their former co-workers? And was this hiring all intentional under the previous ownership?

Despite the protestations of Ted Lieu, these are legitimate questions to be asking. Just how deep does this rot go at Twitter, and can it be stopped? I have a feeling we’re not going to like the answer to either question.

Featured image: Twitter logo by Mizter_X94 via Pixabay, cropped and modified, Pixabay license

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