The latest “Twitter File” drop, from Matt Taibbi, brought us some of the biggest news about how the ‘Deep State’ has operated with the cooperation of social media. However, since it hit at the same time as the discovery of classified documents in Biden’s private office, garage, home library and laundry hamper (just kidding about that last one, though it does seem plausible), it hasn’t received the attention it deserves. The word “amazing” is overused these days, but Twitter File #14 truly is amazing.
What Taibbi shows here is that Democrat politicians pushed the “Russia!!!” narrative in ways that even their friends at Twitter knew were a total lie. When they claimed a purported effect of Russian trolls or “bots,” Twitter executives were “aghast,” according to Taibbi, having found no evidence that this was true. No significant activity had come from Russia, they knew. Internal communications said, “We are feeding congressional trolls” and “Putting the cart before the horse assuming this is propaganda/bots.”
But Twitter didn’t push back, and Taibbi calls their failure to stand up to the politicians and show the Russia Hoax for what it was “one of the more shameful episodes in the history of our media.”
The person who should feel most vindicated is former chairman of the House Intel Committee Devin Nunes of California. (He now heads President Trump’s own platform Truth Social.) Democrats had been using the “bot” claims to discredit his findings and discount the fact that his report on FBI abuses was trending. Why, Nunes’ story was helping Trump, so Russian bots must have been helping him help Trump!
Recall that in January 2018, Nunes submitted a classified memo to the Intel Committee detailing abuses by the FBI to get FISA warrants, including their use of the unverified Steele “dossier” to get a warrant to spy on Carter Page of the Trump campaign. Almost a year later, virtually everything in the Nunes memo was verified by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
But at the time he brought it out, he was vilified in the media, who called the Nunes memo “a joke.” They used “oddly identical language,” Taibbi said. (In other words, talking points. We see this a lot in the media, key phrases mindlessly parroted by all the reporters, over and over.) And in the legislature, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff quickly published an open letter accusing Nunes of distorting classified information. Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal would also publish a letter saying, “We find it reprehensible that Russian agents have so eagerly manipulated innocent Americans.” Nunes was targeted for destruction for exposing the FBI and their Russia scam as evidenced by the fake Steele “dossier.” Recall that he was even pressured to recuse himself from the FBI/Russia investigation.
To blame Russia, our lawmakers were citing just one source, a tool called “Hamilton 68,” which had been created by a former FBI counterintelligence official, Clint Watts, under the auspices of the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD). Internal documents at Twitter show that executives --- even Yoel Roth --- were highly skeptical of Hamilton 68. When they tried to warn our esteemed legislators that there was nothing to this story of Russian manipulation, they were waved off.
“If ASD isn’t going to fact-check with us, we should feel free to correct the record on their work,” Twitter’s then-policy VP Carlos Monje said in an internal memo.
We went to the ASD website to find out more about them. One thing to note is that Bill Kristol is on their advisory council. So is former acting CIA Director Mike Morell. Oh, and...(drum roll, please!)... John Podesta. I am not kidding. Another adviser, Marietje Schaake, is Stanford University’s Cyber Policy Center’s international policy director as well as international policy fellow at the University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence. (Editorial aside: Yikes.) Nicole Wong was deputy U.S. chief technology adviser under Obama, vice president and general counsel for Google, legal director for products at Twitter, and currently serves on the DNC’s cybersecurity advisory board. Make of all this what you will. Here’s the whole list:
As for staff members, we’ll let one research assistant serve as a typical example, someone who is “...part of ASD’s information manipulation team and focuses on Russian propaganda and disinformation...Prior to joining ASD, Joseph worked with the Atlantic Council’s Global Strategy Initiative...His capstone project involved working with the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to identify trends in foreign disinformation targeting the 2020 U.S. election.”
It’s interesting to browse through their website, which has more red flags than a Chinese military parade. We found a blurb about their “Midterm Monitor,” described as “an interactive tool that provides a snapshot of social media messages and narratives shaping the conversation around voting and election administration in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections.” (Again, yikes.)
ASD is associated with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which apparently gets some of its money from George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and other left-wing groups such as the Democracy Fund. More info here:
Well, back to our story and Taibbi, who writes, “One Twitter exec even tried to negotiate with Blumenthal, implying an undisclosed future PR concession if he’d lay off the false ‘Russia’ claims --- ‘It seems like there are other wins we could offer him.’”
They wrote back in the mild language their advisers had suggested, “...We take seriously any activity that may represent an abuse of our platform. Our initial indicates that these trends are driven primarily by organic, non-automated activity [if true], but we are continuing to analyze the data and, as part of our commitment to transparency, will inform Congress about what we find."
Blumenthal was set on publishing his “Russia!!!” letter and went ahead with it. That was the Democrats’ story and they were sticking to it. And after that, Twitter appears to have just caved. “Execs eventually grew frustrated,” Taibbi says, “over what they saw as a circular process --- presented with claims of Russian activity, even when denied, led to more claims.”
In their internal communications, Twitter likened the legislators’ endless “Russia” requests to the children’s book IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE. Taibbi explains what they meant: “If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll want a glass of milk, which will lead to a wave of other exhausting requests, at the end of which he’ll want a glass of milk. And one more cookie.”
“Despite universal internal conviction that there were no Russians in the story, Twitter went on to follow a slavish pattern of not challenging Russia claims on the record,” Taibbi reports. In other words, they knew it was horse hockey, but went along. The End.
Elon Musk commented on Taibbi’s post: “Virtue rises with the sun.”
Scroll down from Elon in the comments and see a scathing tweet from California Rep. Ted Lieu: “What Taibbi leaves out is that the article he cites explains DOJ dropped the two cases because discovery would give the Russians information they could weaponize. Taibbi now wants you to doubt the DOJ’s case against 12 Russian agents. He’s spewing Kremlin talking points.”
But Taibbi stood up to him: “Congressman, I’m an American citizen, I love my country, and accusing me of repeating ‘Kremlin talking points’ when I report something you find inconvenient is beyond reprehensible. You andyour sleazy red-baiting pals in Congress should be ashamed.”
And Nunes has issued a statement, saying “Schiff and the Democrats falsely claimed the Russians were behind the Release the Memo hashtag...by spreading the Russia collusion hoax, they instigated one of the greatest outbreaks of mass delusion in U.S. history.”
Recall that another freshly-released report shows the “Russian bot” effect on the 2016 election was nil, no doubt causing Hillary to go walking in the woods again with a basket full of chardonnay. In fact, just about every Russia-based narrative spread by the Democrats has proved to be false. The only one we can think of that has yet to be completely debunked (yet) is the one about Russia hacking the DNC servers. Don’t be surprised when that one falls, too.