Dem congresswoman threatens Matt Taibbi with prison over Twitter Files

Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, threatened journalist Matt Taibbi with jail time in a letter over his testimony concerning the Twitter Files, basically accusing him of lying.

(Video Credit: The Hill)

Plaskett alleged in her letter that Taibbi’s testimony included an error that MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan promoted concerning the name of one of the federal agencies involved in the Twitter Files investigation.

The purported error had to do with CISA, the government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Taibbi evidently meant to refer to CIS, which is the Center for Internet Security and is a private organization. Taibbi later corrected the error in his reporting.

The Democrat attempted to spin an innocent error into a charge of perjury and nail the journalist for it in yet another evident attempt at political persecution.

Plaskett alluded to Taibbi’s statement and asserted that it is “contradicted by your own admission.”

“This mistake is important because, by adding an ‘A,’ you weren’t making a harmless spelling error. Rather, you were alleging that CISA — a government entity — was working with the EIP [Election Integrity Partnership] to have posts removed from social media,” Plaskett wrote to Taibbi in her letter, according to journalist and fellow Twitter Files reporter Lee Fang on Thursday. “When presented with this misinformation, you acknowledged you had made ‘an error’ by intentionally altering the acronym CIS and you subsequently deleted your erroneous tweet.”

“Prior to your appearance before the subcommittee on March 9, you signed the Judiciary Committee’s Truth in Testimony form, certifying that you understand that ‘knowingly providing material false information to this committee/subcommittee or knowingly concealing material information from this committee/subcommittee, is a crime (18 U.S.C. 1001). In addition, at the beginning of the March 9 hearing, you swore ‘under penalty of perjury that the testimony you [were] about to give [was] true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information, and belief.’ Under the federal perjury statue, 18 U.S.C. 1621, proving false information is punishable by up to five years imprisonment,” she added in the letter.

Fang pointed out in his reporting that the comments made by Taibbi in front of the committee that Plaskett cited “were correct” despite the original error in his Twitter Files reporting.

Taibbi’s testimony that mentioned CISA took place during the March 9 House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Twitter Files.

“Twitter executives did not distinguish between DHS or CISA, and this group EIP [Election Integrity Project],” he told lawmakers. “For instance, we would see a communication that said ‘from CISA, escalated by EIP.’ So they were essentially identical in the eyes of the company. EIP by its own data… they significantly targeted more what they call disinformation on the right than on the left by a factor of about 10-to-1. I say that not as a Republican at all, it’s just a fact of what we’re looking at. We have come to the realization that this bright line we imagine exists between, say, the FBI or DHS or the GEC and these private companies is illusory, and what’s more important is this constellation of quasi-private organizations that do this work.”

Hasan pounced on Taibbi’s testimony. That has led to contention between Taibbi and Hasan following an unfriendly interview this month on Hasan’s MSNBC show. Leftists have seized upon the error in an attempt to discredit the journalist.

(Video Credit: MSNBC)

Fang wrote on Substack that the EIP listed CISA as one of its major government stakeholders.

The EIP claims it was “formed to enable real-time information exchange between election officials, government agencies, civil society organizations, social media platforms, the media, and the research community. It aimed to identify and analyze online mis- and disinformation, and to communicate important findings across stakeholders.”

Fang also reported that Seth Stern, the director of advocacy with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, condemned the letter.

“It’s disturbing that a member of Congress would attempt to threaten a journalist with imprisonment for summarizing his reporting during a congressional hearing It seems apparent that she had no good faith basis to threaten a perjury prosecution and that the threat is an intimidation tactic,” he said.

Plaskett previously got into a heated exchange with Taibbi during the March hearing. She derogatorily referred to him as a “so-called journalist” and demanded that he reveal the source for his Twitter Files reporting. Taibbi refused to answer her demand.

Taibbi has been harassed by Democrats such as Plaskett since he has worked on the Twitter Files. The IRS even went to his home as he was giving his March 9 testimony to Congress. According to a letter that was sent by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, Taibbi was allegedly told that both his 2018 and 2021 tax returns were rejected due to “concerns over identity theft.”

Even former CNN media reporter Brian Stelter slammed the letter, writing, “Lawmakers should not be sending these kinds of letters to journalists. Ironic this is from a ‘weaponization’ committee member.”


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